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ENERAL WALLACE explains in 
the note which has always accompa- 
nied this tale that he assumed the 
guise of a translator of a fictitious 
narrative by an actual historical char- 
acter, Fernando de Alva. It is but 
fair to the designer of the spirited 
illustrations which accompany this 
edition to state that his imagination 
has been aided by material gathered 
with great diligence in the country 
where the scenes of "The Fair God *' 
are laid, as well as drawn from col- 
lections in scientific museums. Mr. 
Pape examined the treasures in the 
Peabody Museum of American Ar- 
chaeology in Cambridge, the Metro- 
politan Museum, the New York Mu- 
seum of Natural History, the Museum of the City 
of Mexico, as well as many private collections. 
He had recourse to the publications and records 
relating to Mexico and Central America to be 


found in public and private libraries, and he trav- 
eled widely in those countries. He covered prac- 
tically the same ground as that gone over by 
Cortes, and visited almost all the ruins of ancient 
civilization in Mexico, making studies and sketches 
and taking a very large number of photographs. 
He had the advantage of using native Mexican 
Indians for models, and of becoming thoroughly 
familiarized with the aspects of the country. 

In collecting and using this material, Mr. Pape 
set himself the further task of such researches 
in the ancient civilization as should make his 
designs truthful representations of the arts, the 
implements, and the manners and customs of the 
Aztecs. In the text decorations he has shown 
examples of the art of the various tribes of Mex- 
ico and Central America who inhabited those 
countries centuries before the Aztecs became 
the rulers of ancient Anahuac. 

These facts are stated for the assurance of the 
reader, who will not need to be told of the picto- 
rial skill which has gone to the making of the 
designs, but who may be glad to know that he is in 
the hands of a conscientious student of his subject, 
drawing his inspiration not only from the book he 
illustrates, but, like the author of the book, from 
the country and people imaginatively reproduced. 

Boston, August 12, 1898. 



PERSONAL experience, though ever 
so plainly told, is, generally speaking, 
more attractive to listeners and readers 
than fiction. A circumstance from 
the tonguq or pen of one to whom it 
actually happened, or who was its 
hero or victim, or even its spectator, 
is always more interesting than if given 
second-hand. If the makers of history, 
contradistinguished from its writers, could 
teach it to us directly, one telling would 
suffice to secure our lasting remembrance. 
The reason is, that the narrative so pro- 
ceeding derives a personality and reality not 
otherwise attainable, which assist in making way 
to our imagination and the sources of our sym- 

With this theory or bit of philosophy in mind, 
when the annexed book was resolved upon, I 
judged best to assume the character of a trans- 
lator, which would enable me to write in the style 
and spirit of one who not merely lived at the time 


of the occurrences woven in the text, but was 
acquainted with many of the historical personages 
who figure therein, and was a native of the beau- 
tiful valley in which the story is located. Think- 
ing to make the descriptions yet more real, and 
therefore more impressive, I took the liberty of 
attributing the composition to a literator who, 
whatever may be thought of his works, was not 
himself a fiction. Without meaning to insinuate 
that The Fair God would have been the worse 
for creation by Don Fernando de Alva, the Tez- 
cucan, I wish merely to say that it is not a trans- 
lation. Having been so written, however, now 
that publication is at hand, change is impossible ; 
hence, nothing is omitted, — title-page, introduc- 
tory, and conclusion are given to the reader 
exactly as they were brought to the publisher 
by the author. 

L. W. 
Boston, Mass., August 8, 1873. 





II. quetzal', the fair GOD 


IV. tenochtitlan at night 


























IX. A king's BANQUET 189 


















QUETZAL AND SUNFLOWER .... Cover design 
"The Quetzal (Kwetsal) [native name]. The Paradise 
Trogan, the most magnificent of the Trogans, of a golden 
green, long airy tail feathers and spray-like wings. 

'' The bird is about the size of a pigeon, but the long feath- 
ers project beyond the tail for two feet or more, forming a 
graceful spray-like train." 

It was the sacred bird of the ancient tribes of Anahuac, wor- 
shiped by them as the Scarabaeus was by the Egyptians. The 
supreme god of the Aztecs was also called Quetzal'. -p^^^ 


Design after an ancient Mexican temple door decoration. 
"DID I NOT TELL YOU SO, o TULA?" (p. 251) Frontispiece 

TITLE iii 

The initial is a hieroglyph ; the sweeping feathers were or- 
naments of the Aztecs. The symbolic design represents the 
Aztec eagle, the sun, moon, and stars, the clouds and lightning, 
all of which played an important part in the religious beliefs 
of the Aztec Mexicans. 


Design taken from a spinning-whirl of Tezcuco. 


Design after some Aztec gold ornaments. 



Hierogl3rphic signs and figure, combined in one design, after 
an ancient Mexican mural decoration. 


Design after a gold crown found in southern Mexico, — 
suggesting enamel. 


Design taken from the upper portion of a carved wooden 
altar panel in the Temple of the Sun at Tikal. This greatly 
resembles the winged disk and Scarahatus (horns) carved over 
the doors of the temples of Upper £g>pt. 

Feather ornament. From a Toltec temple. 

Design from an ancient Mexican bas-relief, cut upon a rough 
stone, representing a shield and banner of the chieftain. A 
bird's head (Quetzal) and another hieroglyphic sign are above 
the shield, and five javelins support the whole. 


Eagle and serpent combined. From the ruins of Oaxaca. 

An Aztec decorative design. 


An andent Mexican mural decoration. 

INITIAL • . . . xxv 

Bas-relief from Palenque, — a very fine example of barbaric 
sculpture. In the National Mexican Museum. 


Hieroglyphs from an ancient Mexican temple. 


Thb design is based on several of the finest examples of 
M'exican sculpture. The figure or central portion of the de- 
sign is after a bas-relief from the Palenque ruins. (An adap- 
tion of this design is embossed on the leather cover of the 
Limited edition of this book.) 


Aztec design found on a spinning-whirl. 


" Far across the plain he caught a view of the fresh waters 

of Lake Chalco." 



Ancient Mexican hieroglyph. 

THE STREAM {Fkotogrovure) 8 


An ocelot's head carved in rough stone. From Yucatan. 

Branch from the mango-tree. 

An Alcohuan deity. Figure taken from the blade of a por- 
phyry battl&axe. 

Ancient Mexican bow and arrow. 


Headdress and staff of an Aztec chieftain. 

An owl (hieroglyph) and Mexican onyx. 


Jasper necklace from the Valley of Mexico. 


War clubs and lance, used in various parts of ancient Mex- 


The Mexican coat of arms. Aztec decoration. Eagle taken 
from a monument. '* In the southwestern border of Tezcuco 
one morning in 1300 a wandering tribe of Aztecs saw an eagle 
perched with outspread wings upon a cactus, and holding a 
serpent in its talons." 


Terra-cotta urn used for sacred fires in the temples of an- 
cient Mexico. 


View of an Aztec palace and garden. This drawing is based 
on ancient ruins. 


Design after an Aztec textile fabric, consisting of a border 
of small figures with head and fringe attached. 
THE CHILD OF THE TEMPLE {Photogravure) , • • 34 



Stone mask from Copao. Now in British Museum. 



A terra-cotta mask with open mouth and large white col- 
kir and an Aztec border, taken from a sculptural ornament sur- 
rounding the central design. 


Portrait head of an Aztec king in very hard polished stone. 
The lower portion is mbsing. 


Bas-relief. Signs for days of the month. Ancient' Mexico. 


The Aztec war-god, Huitzilopuchtli. Upon his head is a 
crown composed chiefly of feathers, and in one hand the ma- 
quahuitl ; in the other, feather ornament, quiver, and shield. 

" Behold ! " said Mualox (Photogravure) . . . 52 

An eagle cut in low relief upon a rough stone. Found in 

Terra-cotta plates from the Valley of Mexico. 

Aztec decorative border with small rosettes. 
**I CAN FIND YOU ENOUGH SUCH HERE" (Photogravure) . 62 


Terra-cotta vase of fine workmanship. Now in the National 
Mexican Museum. 

Canal scene. 

Design after an Aztec textile fabric. 

Hieroglyphics of the symbol of fire — Xochicalco. 

Aztec lance with feather ornamentation. 



Hieroglyphic ornament. From a Toltec temple. 


{Photogravure) 70 


Andent Mexican quiver. 


The maquahuitl, the deadliest weapon of ancient Mexico. 


Hieroglyph cut in stone, consisting of arrows and feather 

THEM (Photogravure) 94 


Mexican wild flower. , 

INITIAL .*...• 95 

Hieroglyphic design suggested by an ancient Mexican bas- 


Stone mask from Copan. Now in British Museum. A 
full-face view of this mask is shown on page 35. 

Tropical flowers, from neighborhood of Orizaba. 

Design suggested by a hieroglyphic sign on one of the large 
monoliths found at Copan. 

Decorative flower and leaves from an ancient' Mexican vase. 

Cortes^s fleet. 

A Spanish initial with an Aztec scroll design as central or- 

Colored terra-cotta vase in National Mexican Museum. 


" Half nude were they, and flashing with ornaments and 


aerial with gauzes and flying ribbons, and on their heads were 


Design suggested by a Toltec sculptural ornament repre- 
senting wings and feathers of a bird. 


Air-plant from Monte Alban, near Oaxaca. 

INITIAL . . 134 

Design suggested by a niche in the palace at Palenque, with 
a bas-relief ornament above representing a bird with neck and 
head of the feathered serpent. 


Polychrome vase from the Valley of Mexico. 


Guatamozin and Hualpa. 


A scroll design suggested by an Aztec terra-cotta mould in 
the collection of the Mexican Museum of Antiquities. 
{Photogravure) 154 


Aztec maquahuiti and ancient stone sling. 

Sprays from the co£fee plant. 

Composition after a Palenque bas-relief representing a par- 
rot ; the same placed here in three different positions. 


Vase from Huexotla. Collection of Dr. Antonio Penafiel 

HEADPIECE ... 168 

Mexican water-grass and flowers. 


Design after a border of long-beaked birds painted on an 
Aztec jug. 



Aztec canoe paddles. 
HEADPIECE . . . ■ 176 

Mexican belt and pouches. 



Border composed after a beautiful gold filigree ornament with 
enameled rosettes in comers. In National Mexican Museum. 

Vase from the ruins of Teotihuacan. 

View from the royal palace, old CH in middle distance. 

Hieroglyphs from a large monolith found at Copon. 


Design from a very fine Toltec vase with ornamentation 
in the shape of a butterfly. The vase is in the National Mex- 
ican Museum. 

vure) 194 



Toltec decorative design, with lotus flower and bud. This 
greatly resembles the art of the ancient Egyptians. 

Aztec terracotta flute with small shell rattles attached. 


Tropical vine, from Mitla. 

Aztec terra-cotta flute of serpentine design. In the New 
York Metropolitan Museum Collection of Instruments. 

Ancient Mexican decorative rosette. 


Aztec arms. 

Bronze battle^uce with hieroglyphs and a mosaic suggesting 
a Greek pattern. 
iztlil' STAGGERED {Photogrovure) 232 





Design composed of arrows and javelin and flint arrow 


Aztec manuscripts. 


Greek pattern with disks inserted, met with in the borders 
sculptured on the temples and palaces of ancient Mexican 


Bas-relief from Xochicalco. 

Arrow and atlatls. 


Design suggested by the decorative painting of a beautiful 
example of polychrome pottery made by the Teotihuacans, 
very closely resembling the lotus designs on ancient Egyp- . 
tian vases. 


Ancient Mexican gold bracelet. 


Design taken from a spinning-whirl from Huexotla. 


View of lake at Ixtapalapa. 


Head with the feathered tiger-head often worn by the mil- 
itary chiefs and guards. 


Aztec arrows and unstrung bow. 


Tropical plant from the neighborhood of Jalapa. 


One of two bas-reliefs forming supports to the altar of a 
Toltec temple, representing a deity magnificently arrayed. 
He is supposed to personify the god of rain, of spring, 
verdure, and water. 
EACH MET THE OTHER'S GAZE (Photogravure) . . . 278 



Aztec knives, with mosaic and jeweled handles of fine work- 
manship. The one with crouching figure belongs to the 
Christy collection. 


Aztec shield and lance. 


Tile-shaped bas-reliefs representing turtles, with a back- 
ground suggesting water. 


Vase from Valley of Mexico. In National Mexican Museum. 


Bust of an ancient deity cut in soft white stone. 


Border found on Aztec terra-cotta ornaments and vases. 
TAILPIECE . . . . . . *. .305 

Statue of Xochiquetzal from Iztapan. Collection of Dr. 
Antonio Penafiel. 

Aztec water-god. 


An ancient Mexican ornament and conventionalized lotus. 


Aztec water-carrier. 


Design after an ancient Mexican terra-cotta. In the Metro- 
politan Museum, New York. 


WITH STORIES {Photogravure) 320 


(Photogravure) 326 


Andent Mexican vases from various section%of the country. 


Aztec flute and belt. 

Ancient Mexican ornamental scroll. The whole design is 
left entirely as in the original. 


CORT HALTED (Photogravure) 338 


Spanish armor, sword, and battle-axes. 

In the style used during the sixteenth century. 
"out of the way, dog !" SHOUTED SANDOVAL {Pko- 

/ogravure) 342 


Design from a decoration over the entrance to an ancient 
Mexican temple. 


Tezcucan, flourished, we are told, 
in the beginning of the sixteenth 
century. He was a man of great 
learning, familiar with the Mexican 
and Spanish languages, and the hieroglyphics of 
Anahuac. Ambitious to rescue his race from 
oblivion, and inspired by love of learning, he col- 
lected a library, availed himself of his knowledge 
of picture-writing, became master of the songs 
and traditions, and, in the Castilian language, 
composed books of merit. 

It was scarcely possible that his labors should 
escape the researches of Mr. Prescott, who, with 
such incomparable genius, has given the world a 
history of the Conquest of Mexico. From him 
we have a criticism upon the labors of the learned 
Fernando, from which the following paragraph is 

"Iztlilzochitl's writings have many of the de- 
fects belonging to his age. He often crowds the 

1 Fernando De Alva Iztlilzochitl. 


page with incidents of a trivial and sometimes 
improbable character. The improbability in- 
creases with the distance of the period ; for dis- 
tance, which diminishes objects to the natural 
eye, exaggerates them to the mental. His chro- 
nology, as I have more than once noticed, is 
inextricably entangled. He has often lent a too 
willing ear to traditions and reports which would 
startle the more skeptical criticism of the present 
time. Yet there is an appearance of good faith 
and simplicity in his writings, which may convince 
the reader that, when he errs, it is from no worse 
cause than the national partiality. And surely 
such partiality is excusable in the descendant of 
a proud line, shorn of its ancient splendors, which , 
it was soothing to his own feelings to revive 
again — though with something more than their 
legitimate lustre — on the canvas of history. It 
should also be considered that, if his narrative 
is sometimes startling, his researches penetrate 
into the mysterious depths of antiquity, where 
light and darkness meet and melt into each other ; 
and where everything is still further liable to dis- 
tortion, as seen through the misty medium of 

Besides his " Relaciones " and " Historia Chiche- 
meca," De Alva composed works of a lighter 
nature, though equally based upon history. Some 


were lost ; others fell into the hands of persons 
ignorant of their value ; a few only were rescued 
and given to the press. For a considerable period 
he served as interpreter to the Spanish Viceroy. 
His duties as such were trifling; he had ample 
time for literary pursuits; his enthusiasm as a 
scholar permitted him no relaxation or idleness. 
Thus favored, it is believed he composed the 
books now for the first time given to the world. 

The MSS. were found among a heap of old 
dispatches from the Viceroy Mendoza to the 
Emperor. It is quite probable that they became 
mixed with the State papers through accident ; 
if, however, they were purposely addressed to 
His Majesty, it must have been to give him a 
completer idea of the Aztecan people and their 
civilization, or to lighten the burdens of royalty 
by an amusement to which, it is known, Charles 
V. was not averse. Besides, Mendoza, in his dif- 
ficulty with the Marquess of the Valley (Cortes), 
failed not to avail himself of every means likely 
to propitiate his cause with the court, and espe- 
cially with the Royal Council of the Indies. It 
is not altogether improbable, therefore, that the 
MSS. were forwarded for the entertainment of 
the members of the Council and the lordly per- 
sonages of the court, who not only devoured 
with avidity, but, as the wily Mendoza well knew. 


were vastly obliged for, everything relative to the 
New World, and particularly the dazzling con- 
quest of Mexico. 

In the translation, certain liberties have been 
taken, for which, if wrong has been done, pardon 
is besought both from the public and the shade 
of the author. Thus, The Books in the original 
are unbroken narratives; but, with infinite care 
and trouble, they have all been brought out of 
the confusion, and arranged into chapters. So, 
there were names, some of which have been 
altogether changed; while others, for the sake 
of euphony, have been abbreviated, though with- 
out sacrificing the identity of the heroes who 
wore them so proudly. 

And thus beginneth the First Book. 




|HE Spanish Calendar is simpler 
than the Aztecan. In fact, Chris- 
tian methods, of whatever nature, 
are better than heathen. 

So, then, by the Spanish Cal- 
endar, March, 1519, had about half spent itself in 
the valley of Anahuac, which was as yet untrod- 
den by gold-seeker, with cross-hilted sword at his 
side, and on his lips a Catholic oath. Near noon 
of one of its fairest days a traveler came descend- 
ing the western slope of the Sierra de Ahualco. 
Since the dawn his path had been amongst hills 
and crags ; at times traversing bald rocks that 
towered to where the winds blew chill, then 


dipping into warm valleys, where were grass, 
flowers, and streamlets, and sometimes forests of 
cedar and fir, — labyrinths in which there reigned 
a perpetual twilight 

Toilsome as was the way, the traveler, young 
and strong, marched lightly. His dress, of the 
kind prevalent in his country, was provincial, and 
with few signs of rank. He had sandals of buf- 
falo-hide, fitted for climbing rocks and threading 
pathless woods; a sort of white tunic, covering 
his body from the neck to the knees, leaving bare 
the arms from the shoulder; maxtlatl and til- 
matli — sash and mantle — of cotton, blue tinted, 
and void of ornament; on the wrist of his left 
arm he wore a substantial golden bracelet, and 
in both ears jeweled pendants; while an ebony 
band, encircling his head, kept his straight black 
locks in place, and permitted a snow-white bird's- 
wing for decoration. There was a shield on his 
left arm, framed of wood, and covered with pad- 
ded cloth, and in the left hand a javelin barbed 
with Htzli; at his back swung a maquahuitly and a 
quiver filled with arrows ; an unstrung bow in his 
right hand completed his equipments, and served 
him in lieu of staff. An ocelot, trudging stealth- 
ily behind him, was his sole companion. 

In the course of his journey he came to a crag 
that sank bluffly down several hundred feet, com- 
manding a fine prospect. Though the air was 
cold, he halted. Away to the northwest stretched 
the beautiful valley of Anahuac, dotted with ham- 
lets and farmhouses, and marked with the silver 


tracery of streams. Far across the plain, he 
caught a view of the fresh waters of Lake Chalco, 
and beyond that, blue in the distance and faintly 
relieved against the sky, the royal hill of Chapul- 
tepec, with its palaces and cypress forests. In all 
the New World there was no scene comparable 
with that he looked upon, — none its rival for 
beauty, none where the heavens seemed so per- 
fectly melted into earth. There were the most 
renowned cities of the Empire; from that plain 
went the armies whose marches were all triumphs ; 
in that air hovered the gods awaiting sacrifices ; 
into that sky rose the smoke of the inextinguish- 
able fires; there shone the brightest suns, and 
lingered the longest summers ; and yonder dwelt 
that king — in youth a priest, then a warrior, now 
the terror of all nations — whose signet on the 
hand of a slave could fill the land with rustling of 

No traveler, I ween, could look unmoved on 
the picture ; ours sat down, and gazed with brim- 
ful eyes and a beating heart. For the first time 
he was beholding the matchless vale so overhung 
with loveliness and full of the monuments of a 
strange civilization. So rapt was he that he did 
not observe the ocelot come and lay its head in 
his lap, like a dog seeking caresses. "Come, 
boy ! " he said, at last rousing himself ; " let us on. 
Our Mother ^ has a fortune waiting us yonder." 

And they resumed the journey. Half an hour s 

* The goddess Cioacoatl, called " Our Lady and Mother." 
Sahagun, Hist, de Nueva Esp. 


brisk walk brought them to the foot of the moun- 
tain. Suddenly they came upon company. 

It was on the bank of a considerable stream, 
which, pouring in noisy torrent over a rocky bed, 
appeared to rush with a song forward into the 
valley. A clump of giant oaks shaded a level 
sward Under them a crowd of tamanes^ tawny, 
half-clad, broad-shouldered men, devoured loaves 
of cold maize bread. Near the roots of the trees 
their masters reclined comfortably on petateSy or 
mats, without which an Aztec trader's outfit was 
incomplete. Our traveler understood at a glance 
the character of the strangers ; so that, as his road 
led directly to them, he went on without hesita- 
tion. As he came near, some of them sat up to 
observe him. 

" A warrior going to the city," said one. 

"Or rather a king's courier," suggested an- 

"Is not that an ocelot at his heels .^" asked a 

" That it is. Bring me my javelin ! " 

" And mine ! And mine ! " cried several of 
them at once, all springing to their feet. 

By the time the young man came up, the whole 
party stood ready to give him an armed welcome. 

"I am very sorry to have disturbed you,*' he 
said quietly, finding himself obliged to stop. 

" You seem friendly enough," answered one of 
the older men ; "but your comrade there, — what 
of him } " 

* Carrier slaves, or porters. 


The traveler smiled. " See, he is muzzled." 

The party laughed at their own fears. The old 
merchant, however, stepped forward to the young 

"I confess you have greatly relieved me. I 
feared the brute might set on and wound some- 
body. Come up, and sit down with us." 

The traveler was nowise disinclined, being 
tempted by the prospect of cheer from the provi- 
sion-baskets lying around. 

" Bring a mat for the warrior," said the friendly 
trader. " Now give him bread and meat." 

From an abundance of bread, fowl, and fruit 
the wayfarer helped himself. A running conver- 
sation was meantime maintained. 

"My ocelot? The story is simple; for your 
sakes, good friends, I wish it were better. I killed 
his mother, and took him when a whelp. Now 
he does me good service hunting. You should 
see him in pursuit of an antelope ! " 

" Then you are not a warrior > " 

" To be a warrior," replied the hunter modestly, 
" is to have been in many battles, and taken many 
captives. I have practiced arms, and, at times, 
boasted of skill, — foolishly, perhaps ; yet, I con- 
fess, I never marched a day under the banner of 
the great king." 

" Ah ! " said the old man quizzically, " I under- 
stand you. You have served some free-trading 
company like our own." 

" You are shrewd. My father is a merchant. 
At times he has traveled with strong trains, and 


even attacked cities that have refused him admis- 
sion to their market." » 

"Indeed! He must be of renown. In what 
province does he live, my son i " 

" In Tihuanco." 

" Tepaja ! old Tepaja, of Tihuanco ! Are you 
son of his ? '* The good man grasped the young 
one's hand enthusiastically. " I knew him well ; 
many years ago we were as brothers together; 
we traveled and traded through many provinces. 
That was the day of the elder Montezuma, when 
the Empire was not as large as now ; when, in 
fact, most gates were closed against us, because 
our king was an Aztec, and we had to storm a 
town, then turn its square into a market for the 
sale of our wares. Sometimes we marched an 
army, each of us carrying a thousand slaves ; and 
yet our tasks were not always easy. I remember 
once, down on the bank of the Great River, we 
were beaten back from a walled town, and suc- 
ceeded only after a four days' fight. Ah, but we 
made it win ! We led three thousand slaves back 
to Tenochtitlan, besides five hundred captives, — 
a present for the gods." 

So the merchant talked until the hunger of his 
new acquaintance was appeased ; then he offered 
a pipe, which was declined. 

" I am fond of a pipe after a good meal ; and 
this one has been worthy a king. But now I have 
no leisure for the luxury ; the city to which I am 
bound is too far ahead of me." 

" If it is your first visit, you are right. Fail not 

A'ot without a certain pictures queness as it crossed the 



to be there before the market closes. Such a 
sight never gladdened your dreams ! " 

"So I have heard my father say." 

" Oh, it never was as it will be to-night ! The 
roads for days have been thronged with visitors 
going up in processions." 

" What is the occasion } " 

"Why, to-morrow is the celebration of Que- 
tzal* ! Certainly, my son, you have heard the 
prophecies concerning that god." 

" In rumors only. I believe he was to return 
to Anahuac." 

"Well, the story is long, and you are in a 
hurry. We also are going to the city, but will halt 
our slaves at Iztapalapan for the night, and cross 
the causeway before the sun to-morrow. If you 
care to keep us company, we will start at once ; 
on the way I will tell you a few things that may 
not be unacceptable." 

"I see," said the hunter pleasantly, "I have 
reason to be proud of my father's good report. 
Certainly, I will go a distance with you at least, 
and thank you for information. To speak frankly, 
I am seeking my fortune." 

The merchant spoke to his companions, and, 
raising a huge conch-shell to his mouth, blew a 
blast that started every slave to his feet. For a 
few minutes all was commotion. The mats were 
rolled up, and, with the provision-baskets, slung 
upon broad shoulders ; each tamane resumed his 
load of wares, and took his place ; those armed 
put themselves, with their masters, at the head; 


and at another peal from the shell all set forward. 
The column, if such it may be called, was long, 
and not without a certain picturesqueness as it 
crossed the stream and entered a tract covered 
with tall trees, amongst which the palm was 
strangely intermingled with the oak and the cy- 
press. The whole valley, from the lake to the 
mountains, was irrigated and under cultivation. 
Full of wonder, the hunter marched beside the 



WAS speaking about Quetzal', I 
believe," said the old man, when 
all were fairly on the way. " His 
real name was Quetzalcoatl.^ He 
was a wonderfully kind god, who, 
many ages ago, came into the val- 
ley here, and dwelt a while. The 
people were then rude and savage ; but he taught 
them agriculture and other arts, of which you 
will see signs as we get on! He changed the 
manners and customs; while he stayed, famine 
was unknown ; the harvests were abundant, and 
happiness universal. Above all, he taught the 
princes wisdom in their government. If to-day 
the Aztec Empire is the strongest in the world, it 
is owing to Quetzal'. Where he came from, or 
how long he stayed, is not known. The people 
and their governors after a time proved ungrate- 
ful, and banished him ; they also overthrew his 
religion, and set up idols again, and sacrificed 
men, both of which he had prohibited. Driven 
1 In Aztec mythology, God of the Air. 


away, he went to Cholula ; thqnce to the seacoast, 
where, it is said, he built him a canoe of serpent- 
skins, and departed for Tlapallan, a heaven lying 
somewhere toward the rising sun. But before he 
went, he promised to return some day, and wrest 
away the Empire and restore his own religion. In 
appearance he was not like our race ; his skin was 
white, his hair long and wavy and black. He is 
said to have been wise as a god, and more beauti- 
ful than men. Such is his history ; and, as the 
prophecy has it, the time of his return is at hand. 
The king and Tlalac, the teotuctli} are looking for 
him ; they expect him every hour, and, they say, 
live in continued dread of him. Wishing to pro- 
pitiate him, they have called the people together, 
and celebrate to-morrow, with sacrifices and com- 
bats and more pomp than was ever seen before, 
not excepting the time of the king's coronation.". 

The hunter listened closely, and at the conclu- 
sion said : " Thank you, uncle. Tell me now of 
the combats.'* 

*' Yes. In the days of the first kings it was the 
custom to go into the temples, choose the bravest 
warriors there set apart for sacrifice, bring them 
into the tianguezy and make them do battle in the 
presence of the people. If they conquered, they 
were set free and sent home with presents." * 

"With whom did they combat } " 

" True enough, my son. The fight was deemed 
a point of honor amongst the Aztecs, and the best 

1 Equivalent to pontiff or pope. 
^ Sahagun, Hist* de Nutva Esp, 


of them volunteered. Indeed, those were royal 
times ! Of late, I am sorry to say, the custom of 
which I was speaking has been neglected, but to- 
morrow it is to be revived. The scene will be very 
grand. The king and all the nobles will be there." 

The description excited the listener's fancy, and 
he said, with flushed cheeks, " I would not lose 
the chance for the world. Can you tell me who 
of the Aztecs will combat i '' 

" In the city we could easily find out ; but you 
must recollect I am going home after a long ab- 
sence. The shields of the combatants are always 
exhibited in the tianguez the evening before the 
day of the fight. In that way the public are noti- 
fied beforehand of those who take the field. As 
the city is full of caciques, you may be assured 
our champions will be noble." 

"Thank you again, uncle. And now, as one 
looking for service, like myself, is anxious to know 
with whom to engage, tell me of the caciques and 

" Then you intend entering the army } " 

" Well, yes. I am tired of hunting ; and though 
trading is honorable, I have no taste for it." 

The merchant, as if deliberating, took out a box 
of snuff and helped himself ; and then he replied : 

" The caciques are very numerous ; in no for- 
mer reign, probably, were there so many of ability 
and renown. With some of them I have per- 
sonal acquaintance ; others I know only by sight 
or reputation. You had better mention those of 
whom you have been thinking." 


" Well/* said the hunter, " there is Iztlil', the 
Tezcucan." ^ 

" Do not think of him, I pray you ! " And the 
good man spoke earnestly. " He is brave as any, 
and perhaps as skillful, but proud, haughty, soured, 
and treacherous. Everybody fears him. I sup- 
pose you have heard of his father." 

" You mean the wise 'Hualpilli ? " 

" Yes. Upon his death, not long since, Iztlil' 
denied his brother's right to the Tezcucan throne. 
There was a quarrel which would have ended in 
blood, had not Montezuma interfered, and given 
the city to Cacama, and all the northern part of 
the province to Iztlil*. Since that, the latter has 
been discontented with the great king. So, I say 
again, do not think of him, unless you are careless 
about honor." 

" Then what of Cacama ? ^ Tezcuco is a goodly 

" He has courage, but is too effeminate to be a 
great warrior. A garden and a soft couch delight 
him more than camps, and dancing women better 
than fighting men. You might grow rich with 
him, but not renowned. Look elsewhere." 

"Then there is the lord Cuitlahua."^ 

" The king's brother, and governor of Iztapala- 
pan ! " said the merchant promptly. " Some have 
thought him better qualified for Chapultepec than 
Montezuma, but it is not wise to say so. His 

^ Ixtlilxochitl, son of Nezahualpilli, king of Tezcuco. 

2 King of Tezcuco. 

* See Prescott's Con^. of Mexico. 


people are prosperous, and he has the most beau- 
tiful gardens in the world; unlike Cacama, he 
cares nothing for them, when there is a field to 
be fought. Considering his influence at court and 
his love of war, you would do well to bear shield 
for him ; but, on the other hand, he is old. Were 
I in your place, my son, I would attach myself to 
some young man." 

"That brings me to Maxtla, the Tesoyucan." 

" I know him only by repute. With scarcely a 
beard, he is chief of the king's guard. There was 
never anything like his fortune. Listen now, I 
will tell you a secret which may be of value to 
you some time. The king is not as young as he 
used to be by quite forty summers." 

The hunter smiled at the caution with which 
the old man spoke of the monarch. 

"You see," the speaker continued, "time and 
palace life have changed him : he no longer leads 
the armies ; his days are passed in the temples 
with the priests, or in the gardens with his women, 
of whom there are several hundreds; his most 
active amusement now is to cross the lake to his 
forests, and kill birds and rabbits by blowing little 
arrows at them through a reed. Thus changed, 
you can very well understand how he can be 
amused by songs and wit, and make favorites of 
those who best lighten his hours of satiety and 
indolence. In that way Maxtla rose, — a marvel- 
ous courtier, but a very common soldier." 

The description amused the young man, but he 
said gravely, " You have spoken wisely, uncle, and 


I am satisfied you know the men well. Really, I 
had no intention of entering the suite, of either of 
them : they are not of my ideal ; but there is a 
cacique, if reports are to be credited, beyond all 
exception, — learned and brave, honored alike by 
high and low." 

" Ah ! you need not name him to me. I know 
him, as who does not ? " And now the merchant 
spoke warmly. "A nobler than Guatamozin,^ — 
or, as he is more commonly called, the 'tzin Gua- 
tamo — never dwelt in Anahuac. He is the peo- 
ple's friend, and the Empire's hope. His valor 
and wisdom, — ah, you should see him, my son ! 
Such a face ! His manner is so full of sweet dig- 
nity ! But I will give you other evidence.*' 

He clapped his hands three times, and a soldier 
sprang forward at the signal. 

" Do you know the 'tzin Guatamo ? " asked the 

" I am an humble soldier, my master, and the 
'tzin is the great king's nephew ; but I know him. 
When he was only a boy, I served under him in 
Tlascala. He is the best chief in Anahuac." 

"That will do." 

^ Guatamozin, nephew to Montezuma. Of him Bernal Diaz 
says : " This monarch was between twenty-three and twenty-four 
years of age, and could in all truth be called a handsome man, 
both as regards his countenance and figure. His face was rather 
of an elongated form, with a cheerful look ; his eye had great 
expression, both when he assumed a majestic expression, or 
when he looked pleasantly around ; the color of his face inclined 
to white more than to the copper-brown tint of the Indians in 
general." Diaz, Conquest of Mexico^ Lockhart's trans., vol. iv. 
p. no. 


The man retired. 

"So I might call up my tamanes" the mer- 
chant resumed, " and not one but would speak of 
him in the same way." 

" Strange ! " said the Tihuancan in a low tone. 

" No ; if you allude to his popularity, it is not 
strange : if you mean the man himself, you are 
right. The gods seldom give the qualities that 
belong to him. He is more learned than Tlalac 
or the king ; he is generous as becomes a prince ; 
in action he is a hero. You have probably heard 
of the Tlascalan wall in the eastern valley ; ^ few 
warriors ever passed it and lived ; yet he did so 
when almost a boy. I myself have seen him send 
an arrow to the heart of an eagle in its flight. 
He has a palace and garden in Iztapalapan; in 
one of the halls stand the figures of three kings, 
two of Michuaca, and one of the Ottomies. He 
took them prisoners in battle, and now they hold 
torches at his feasts." 

" Enough, enough ! " cried the hunter. " I have 
been dreaming of him while among the hills. I 
want no better leader." 

The merchant cast an admiring glance at his 
beaming countenance, and said, " You are right ; 
enter his service." 

In such manner the conversation was continued, 
until the sun fast declined towards the western 
mountains. Meantime, they had passed through 
several hamlets and considerable towns. In nearly 
the whole progress, the way on either hand had 

^ Prescott's Conq. of Mexico^ vol. i. p. 417. 


been lined with plantations. Besides the presence 
of a busy, thriving population, they everywhere 
saw evidences of a cultivation and science, con- 
stituting the real superiority of the Aztecs over 
their neighbors. The country was thus preparing 
the stranger for the city, unrivaled in splendor 
and beauty. Casting a look toward the sun, he 
at length said, "Uncle, I have much to thank 
you for, — you and your friends. But it is grow- 
ing late, and I must hurry on, if I would see the 
tianguez before the market closes." 

"Very well," returned the old trader. "We 
will be in the city to-morrow. The gods go with 

Whistling to his ocelot, the adventurer quick- 
ened his pace, and was soon far in the advance. 



N the valley of Anahuac, at the time 
I write, are four lakes, — Xaltocan, 
Chalco, Xochichaico, and Tezcuco. The 
latter, besides being the largest, washed 
the walls of Tenochtitlan, and was the 
especial pride of the Aztecs, who, fa- 
miliar with its ways as with the city, traversed 
them all the days of the year, and even the 

"Ho, there!" shouted a voyageur, in a voice 
that might have been heard a long distance over 
the calm expanse of the lake. " Ho, the canoe ! " 
The hail was answered. 
" Is it Guatamozin } '* asked the first speaker. 

"And going to Tenochtitlan ? " 
" The gods willing, — yes." 
The canoes of the voyagetirs — I use that term 
because it more nearly expresses the meaning of 
the word the Aztecs themselves were wont to 


apply to persons thus abroad — were, at the time, 
about the middle of the little sea. After the 
'tzin's reply, they were soon alongside, when lash- 
ings were applied, and together they swept on 
rapidly, for the slaves at the paddles vied in skill 
and discipline. 

"Iztlir, of Tezcuco!" said the 'tzin lightly. 
" He is welcome ; but had a messenger asked me 
where at this hour he would most likely be found, 
I should have bade him search the chinampaSy 
especially those most notable for their perfume 
and music.'* 

The speech was courteous, yet the moment of 
reply was allowed to pass. The *tzin waited until 
the delay excited his wonder. 

" There is a rumor of a great battle with the 
Tlascalans," he said again, this time with a direct 
question. " Has my friend heard of it } " 

" The winds that carry rumors seldom come to 
me," answered IztliF. 

" Couriers from Tlascala pass directly through 
your capital " — 

The Tezcucan laid his hand on the speaker's 

" My capital ! " he said. " Do you speak of the 
city of Tezcuco } " 

The 'tzin dashed the hand away, and arose, say- 
ing, "Your meaning is dark in this dimness of 

" Be seated," said the other. 

" If I sit, is it as friend or foe } " 

" Hear me ; then be yourself the judge." 


The Aztec folded his cloak about him and re- 
sumed his seat, very watchful. 

" Montezuma, the king " — 

" Beware ! The great king is my kinsman, and 
I am his faithful subject." 

The Tezcucan continued. " In the valley the 
king is next to the gods ; yet to his nephew I 
say I hate him, and will teach him that my hate is 
no idleness, like a passing love. 'Tzin, a hundred 
years ago our races were distinct and independent. 
The birds of the woods, the winds of the prairie, 
were not more free than the people of Tezcuco. 
We had our capital, our temples, our worship, and 
our gods ; we celebrated our own festivals, our 
kings commanded their own armies, our priest- 
hood prescribed their own sacrifices. But where 
now are king, country, and gods ? Alas ! you have 
seen the children of 'Hualpilli, of the blood of the 
Acolhuan, suppliants of Montezuma, the Aztec." 
And, as if overcome by the recollection, he burst 
into apostrophe. "I mourn thee, O Tezcuco, 
garden of my childhood, palace of my fathers, 
inheritance of my right ! Against me are thy 
gates closed. The stars may come, and as of old 
garland thy towers with their rays ; but in thy 
echoing halls and princely courts never, never 
shall I be known again ! " 

The silence that ensued, the 'tzin was the first 
to break. 

"You would have me understand," he said, 
" that the king has done you wrong. Be it so. 
But, for such cause, why quarrel with me .^ " 


" Ah, yes ! " answered the Tezcucan in an 
altered voice. " Come closer, that the slaves may 
not hear." 

The Aztec kept his attitude of dignity. Yet 
lower IztUr dropped his voice. 

" The king has a daughter whom he calls Tula, 
and loves as the light of his palace." 

The 'tzin started, but held his peace. 

" You know her ? " continued the Tezcucan. 

" Name her not ! " said Guatamozin passion- 

"Why not.^ I love her, and but for you, O 
'tzin, she would have loved me. You, too, have 
done me wrong." 

With thoughts dark as the waters he rode, the 
Aztec looked long at the light of fire painted on 
the sky above the distant city. 

" Is Guatamozin turned woman ? " asked Iztlil* 

" Tula is my cousin. We have lived the lives 
of brother and sister. In hall, in garden, on the 
lake, always together, I could not help loving her." 

"You mistake me," said the other. "I seek 
her for wife, but you seek her for ambition ; in 
her eyes you see only her father's throne." 

Then the Aztec's manner changed and he as- 
sumed the mastery. 

" Enough, Tezcucan ! I listened calmly while 
you reviled the king, and now I have somewhat to 
say. In your youth the wise men prophesied evil 
from you ; they said you were ingrate and blas- 
phemer then : your whole life has but verified 


their judgment. Well for your royal father and 
his beautiful city had he cut you off as they coun- 
seled him to do. Treason to the king, — defiance 
to me ! By the holy Sun, for each offense you 
should answer me shield to shield ! But I re- 
collect that I am neither priest to slay a victim 
nor officer to execute the law. I mourn a feud, 
still more the blood of countrymen shed by my 
hand ; yet the wrongs shall not go unavenged or 
without challenge. To-morrow is the sacrifice to 
Quetzal*. There will be combat with the best 
captives in the temples ; the arena will be in the 
tianguez ; Tenochtitlan, and all the valley, and all 
the nobility of the Empire, will look on. Dare 
you prove your kingly blood ? I challenge the 
son of 'Hualpilli to share the danger with me." 

The cacique was silent, and the 'tzin did not 
disturb him. At his order, however, the slaves 
bent their dusky forms, and the vessels sped on, 
like wingless birds. 



|HE site of the city of Tenochti- 
tlan was chosen by the gods. In 
the southwestern border of Lake 
Tezcuco, one morning in 1300, a 
wandering tribe of Aztecs saw 
an eagle perched, with outspread 
wings, upon a cactus, and holding a serpent in its 
talons. At a word from their priests, they took 
possession of the marsh, and there stayed their 
migration and founded the city : such is the tra- 
dition. As men love to trace their descent back 
to some storied greatness, nations delight to as- 
sociate the gods with their origin. 

Originally the Aztecs were barbarous. In their 
southern march, they brought with them only 
their arms and a spirit of sovereignty. The valley 
of Anahuac, when they reached it, was already 
peopled ; in fact, had been so for ages. The cul- 
tivation and progress they found and conquered 
there reacted upon them. They grew apace ; and 


as they carried their shields into neighboring ter- 
ritory, as by intercourse and commerce they crept 
from out their shell of barbarism, as they strength- 
ened in opulence and dominion, they repudiated 
the reeds and rushes of which their primal houses 
were built, and erected enduring temples and 
residences of Oriental splendor. 

Under the smiles of the gods, whom countless 
victims kept propitiated, the city threw abroad 
its arms, and, before the passage of a century, 
became the emporium of the valley. Its people 
climbed the mountains around, and, in pursuit of 
captives to grace their festivals, made the con- 
quest of "Mexico." Then the kings began to 
centralize. They made Tenochtitlan their capi- 
tal ; under their encouragement the arts grew and 
flourished ; its market became famous ; the nobles 
and privileged orders made it their dwelling-place ; 
wealth abounded ; as a consequence, a vast popu- 
lation speedily filled its walls and extended them 
as required. At the coming of the "conquista- 
dores " it contained sixty thousand houses and 
three hundred thousand souls. Its plat testifies 
to a high degree of order and regularity, with all 
the streets running north and south, and inter- 
sected by canals, so as to leave quadrilateral 
blocks. An ancient map, exhibiting the city pro- 
per, presents the face of a checker-board, each 
square, except those of some of the temples and 
palaces, being meted with mathematical certainty. 

Such was the city the 'tzin and the cacique 
were approaching. Left of them, half a league 


distant, lay the towers and embattled gate of 
Xoloc. On the horizon behind paled the fires of 
Iztapalapan, while those of Tenochtitlan at each 
moment threw brighter hues into the sky, and 
more richly empurpled the face of the lake. In 
mid-air, high over all others, like a great torch, 
blazed the pyre of Huitzil'.^ Out on the sea, the 
course of the voyageurs was occasionally ob- 
structed by chinampas at anchor, or afloat before 
the light wind ; nearer the walls, the floating gar- 
dens multiplied until the passage was as if through 
an archipelago in miniature. From many of them 
poured the light of torches ; others gave to the 
grateful sense the melody of flutes and blended 
voices; while over them the radiance from the 
temples fell softly, revealing white pavilions, 
orange-trees, flowering shrubs, and nameless vari- 
eties of the unrivaled tropical vegetation. A 
breeze, strong enough to gently ripple the lake, 
hovered around the undulating retreats, scattering 
a largesse of perfume, and so ministering to the 
voluptuous floramour of the locality. 

As the voyageurs proceeded, the city, rising to 
view, underwent a number of transformations. 
At first, amidst the light of its own fires,.^ it 
looked like a black seashore ; directly its towers 
and turrets became visible, some looming vaguely 
and dark, others glowing and purpled, the whole 

1 The God of War, — aptly called the " Mexican Mais." 
'^ There was a fire for each altar in the temples wliich was 
inextinguishable ; and so numerous were the altars, and so bril- 
liant their fires, that they kept the city illuminated throughout 
the darkest nights. Prescott, Conq. of Mexico^ vol. i. p. 72. 


magnified by the dim duplication below ; then it 
seemed like a cloud, one half kindled by the sun, 
the other obscured by the night. As they swept 
yet nearer, it changed to the likeness of a long, 
ill-defined wall, over which crept a hum wing-like 
and strange, — the hum of myriad life. 

In silence still they hurried forward. Vessels 
like their own, but with lanterns of stained aguave 
at the prows, seeking some favorite chinampa, 
sped by with benisons from the crews. At length 
they reached the wall, and, passing through an 
interval that formed the outlet of a canal, entered 
the city. Instantly the water became waveless ; 
houses encompassed them ; lights gleamed across 
their way ; the hum that hovered over them while 
out on the lake realized itself in the voices of men 
and the notes of labor. 

Yet farther into the city, the light from the 
temples increased. From towers, turreted like a 
Moresco castle, they heard the night-watchers 
proclaiming the hour. Canoes, in flocks, darted 
by them, decked with garlands, and laden with 
the wealth of a merchant, or the trade of a mar- 
ketman, or full of revelers singing choruses to 
the stars or to the fair denizens of the palaces. 
Here and there the canal was bordered with 
sidewalks of masonry, and sometimes with steps 
leadmg from the water up to a portal, about which 
were companies whose flaunting, parti-colored 
costumes, brilliant in the mellowed light, had all 
the appearance of Venetian masqueraders. 

At last the canoes gained the great street that 



continued from the causeway at the south through 
the whole city; then the Tezcucan touched the 
'tzin, and said, — 

"The son of 'Hualpilli accepts the challenge, 
Aztec. In the tiangiiez to-morrow." 

Without further speech, the foemen leaped on 
the landing and separated. 





IHERE were two royal palaces in the 
|y||ip--i i^J city ; one built by Axaya', the other 
\m ! mI ^y Montezuma, the reigning king, 
~ ^ " who naturally preferred his own 

structure, and so resided there. It 
was :i low, irregular pile, embracing not only 
the king s abode proper, but also quarters 
for his guard, and edifices for an armory, 
an aviary, and a menagerie. Attached to 
it wus a garden, adorned with the choicest 
shrubbery and plants, with fruit and forest 
trees, with walks strewn with shells, and 
fountains of pure water conducted from the reser- 
voir of Chapultepec. 


At night, except when the moon shone, the 
garden was lighted with lamps ; and, whether in 
day or night, it was a favorite lounging-place. 
During fair evenings, particularly, its walks, of the 
whiteness of snow, were thronged by nobles and 

Shortly after the arrival of Iztlil' and Guata- 
mozin, a party, mostly of the sons of provincial 
governors kept at the palace as hostages, were 
gathered in the garden, under a canopy used to 
shield a fountain from the noonday sun. The 
place was fairly lighted, the air fresh with the 
breath of flowers, and delightful with the sound 
of falling water. 

Maxtla, chief of the guard, was there, his juve- 
nility well hidden under an ostentatious display. 
That he was "a very common soldier'* in the 
opinion of the people was of small moment : he 
had the king's ear; and that, without wit and 
courtierly tact, would have made him what he 
was, — the oracle of the party around him. 

In the midst of his gossip, Iztlil', the Tezcucan, 
came suddenly to the fountain. He coldly sur- 
veyed the assembly. Maxtla alone saluted him. 

" Will the prince of Tezcuco be seated ? " said 
the chief. 

" The place is pleasant, and the company looks 
inviting," returned Iztlil' grimly. 

Since his affair with Guatamozin, he had donned 
the uniform of an Aztec chieftain. Over his 
shoulders was carelessly flung a crimson tilmatli, 
— a short, square cloak, fantastically embroidered 


with gold, and so sprinkled with jewels as to flash 
at every movement ; his body was wrapped closely 
in an escaupily or tunic, of cotton lightly quilted, 
over which, and around his waist, was a maxtlatl^ 
or sash, inseparable from the warrior. A casque 
of silver, thin, burnished, and topped with plumes, 
surmounted his head. His features were grace- 
fully moulded, and he would have been handsome 
but that his complexion was deepened by black, 
frowning eyebrows. He was excessively arro- 
gant ; though sometimes, when deeply stirred by 
passion, his manner rose into the royal. His 
character I leave to history. 

" I have just come from Iztapalapan," he said, 
as he sat upon the proffered stool. " The lake is 
calm, the way was very pleasant, I had the *tzin 
Guatamo for comrade." 

"You were fortunate. The 'tzin is good com- 
pany," said Maxtla. 

IztUr frowned, and became silent. 

"To-morrow," continued the courtier, upon 
whom the discontent, slight as it was, had not 
been lost, " is the sacrifice to Quetzal*. I am re- 
minded, gracious prince, that, at a recent celebra- 
tion, you put up a thousand cocoa,^ to be forfeited 
if you failed to see the daughter of Mualox, the 
paba. If not improper, how runs the wager, and 
what of the result t " 

The cacique shrugged his broad shoulders. 

^ The Aztec currency consisted of bits of tin, in shape like a 
capital T, of quills of gold-dust, and of bags of cocoa, containing 
a stated number of grains. Sahagun, Hist, de Nucva Esp. 


"The man trembles!" whispered one of the 

"Well he may! Old Mualox is more than a 

Maxtla bowed and laughed. " Mualox is a ma- 
gician ; the stars deal with him. And my brother 
will not speak, lest he may cover the sky of his 
fortune with clouds." 

" No," said the Tezcucan proudly ; " the wager 
was not a sacrilege to the paba or his god ; if it 
was, the god, not the man, should be a warrior's 

" Does Maxtla believe Mualox a prophet ? " 
asked Tlahua, a noble Otompan. • 

" The gods have power in the sun ; why not on 

"You do not like the paba," observed Iztlil' 

" Who has seen him, O prince, and thought of 
love.? And the walls and towers of his dusty 
temple, — are they not hung with dread, as the 
sky on a dark day with clouds ? " 

The party, however they might dislike the 
cacique, could not listen coldly to this conversa- 
tion. They were mostly of that mystic race of 
Azatlan, who, ages before, had descended into 
the valley, like an inundation, from the north ; 
the race whose religion was founded upon credu- 
lity; the race full of chivalry, but horribly gov- 
erned by a crafty priesthood. None of them 
disbelieved in star-dealing. So every eye fixed 
on the Tezcucan, every ear drank the musical 


syllables of Maxtla. They were startled when 
the former said abruptly, — 

" Comrades, the wrath of the old paba is not 
to be lightly provoked ; he has gifts not of men. 
But as there is nothing I do not dare, I will tell 
the story." 

The company now gathered close around the 

"Probably you have all heard," he began, "that 
Mualox keeps in his temple somewhere a child 
or woman too beautiful to be mortal. The story 
may be true ; yet it is only a belief ; no eye has 
seen footprint or shadow of her. A certain lord 
in the palace, who goes thrice a week to the 
shrine of Quetzal', has faith in the gossip and 
the paba. He says the mystery is Quetzal* him- 
self, already returned, and waiting, concealed in 
the temple, the ripening of the time when he is 
to burst in vengeance on Tenochtitlan. I heard 
him talking about it one day, and wagered him a 
thousand cocoa that, if there was such a being I 
would see her before the next sacrifice to Que- 

The Tezcucan hesitated. 

" Is the believer to boast himself wealthier by 
the wager } *' said Maxtla, profoundly interested. 
"A thousand cocoa would buy a jewel or a slave : 
surely, O prince, surely they were worth the win- 

Iztlir frowned again, and said bitterly, " A thou- 
sand cocoa I cannot well spare ; they do not grow 
on my hard northern hills like flowers in Xochi- 


milco. I did my best to save the wager. Old 
habit lures me to the great teocallis ; ^ for I am 
of those who believe that a warrior's worship is 
meet for no god but Huitzil'. But as the girl 
was supposed to be down in the cells of the old 
temple, and none but Mualox could satisfy me, I 
began going there, thinking to bargain humilities 
for favor. I played my part studiously, if not 
well ; but no offering of tongue or gold ever won 
me word of friendship or smile of confidence. 
Hopeless and weary, I at last gave up, and went 
back to the teocallis. But now hear my parting 
with the paba. A short time ago a mystery was 
enacted in the temple. At the end, I turned to 
go away, determined that it should be my last 
visit. At the eastern steps, as I was about de- 
scending, I felt a hand laid on my arm. It was 
Mualox ; and not more terrible looks Tlalac when 
he has sacrificed a thousand victims. There was 
no blood on his hands ; his beard and surplice 
were white and stainless; the terror was in his 
eyes, that seemed to bum and shoot lightning. 
You know, good chief, that I could have crushed 
him with a blow ; yet I trembled. Looking back 
now, I cannot explain the awe that seized me. 
I remember how my will deserted me, — how 
another's came in its stead. With a glance he 
bound me hand and foot. While I looked at him, 
he dilated, until I was covered by his shadow. 
He magnified himself into the stature of a god. 

1 Temple. The term appears to have applied particularly to 
the temples of the god Huitzil'. Tr. 

The child of the tempU 


* Prince of Tezcuco/ he said, * son of the wise 
'Hualpilli, from the sun Quetzal' looks down on 
the earth. Alike over land and sea he looks. 
Before him space melts into a span, and darkness 
puts on the glow of day. Did you think to de- 
ceive my god, O prince ? ' I could not answer ; 
my tongue was like stone. ' Go hence, go hence ! ' 
he cried, waving his hand. * Your presence dark- 
ens his mood. His wrath is on your soul ; he 
has cursed you. Hence, abandoned of the gods ! ' 
So saying, he went back to the tower again, and 
my will returned, and I fled. And now," said the 
cacique, turning suddenly and sternly upon his 
hearers, "who will deny the magic of Mualox? 
How may I be assured that his curse that day 
spoken was not indeed a curse from Quetzal' .? " 

There was neither word nor laugh, — not even 
a smile. The gay Maxtla appeared infected with 
a sombreness of spirit ; and it was not long until 
the party broke up, and went each his way. 

THE cO OF quetzal', AND MUALOX, 

• VER the city from temple to 
temple passed the wail of the 
watchers, and a quarter of the 
night was gone. Few heard the 
cry without pleasure ; for to-mor- 
row was Quetzal's day, which would bring feast- 
ing, music, combat, crowd, and flowers. 

Among others the proclamation of the passing 
time was made from a temple in the neighborhood 
of the Tlateloco tiangtiez, or market-place, which 
had been built by one of the first kings of Te- 
nochtitlan, and, like all edifices of that date pro- 
perly called COs, was of but one story, and had 


but one tower. At the south its base was washed 
by a canal ; on all the other sides it was inclosed 
by stone walls high, probably, as a man's head. 
The three sides so walled were bounded by streets, 
and faced by houses, some of which were higher 
than the CO itself, and adorned with beautiful por- 
ticos. The canal on the south ran parallel with 
the Tlacopan causeway, and intersected the Izta- 
palapan street at a point nearly half a mile above 
the great pyramid. 

The antique pile thus formed a square of vast 
extent. According to the belief that there were 
blessings in the orient rays of the sun, the front 
was to the east, where a flight of steps, wide as 
the whole building, led from the ground to the 
azoteasy a paved area constituting the roof, 
crowned in the centre by a round tower of wood 
most quaintly carved with religious symbols. En- 
tering the door of the tower, the devotee might 
at once kneel before the sacred image of Quetzal*. 

A circuitous stairway outside the tower con- 
ducted to its summit, where blazed the fire. An- 
other flight of steps about midway the tower and 
the western verge of the azoteas descended into 
a courtyard, around which, in the shade of^ a 
colonnade, were doors and windows of habitable 
apartments and passages leading far into the inte- 
rior. And there, shrouded in a perpetual twilight, 
and darkness, once slept, ate, prayed, and studied 
or dreamed the members of a fraternity power- 
ful as the Templars and gloomy as the Fratres 


The interior was cut into rooms, and long, wind- 
ing halls, and countless cellular dens. 

Such was the Cd of Quetzal', — stern, sombre, 
and massive as in its first days ; unchanged in all 
save the prosperity of its priesthood and the pop- 
ularity of its shrine. Time was when every cell 
contained its votaries, and kings, returning from 
battle, bowed before the altar. But Montezuma 
had built a new edifice, and set up there a new 
idol ; and as if a king could better make a god 
than custom, the people abandoned the old ones 
to desuetude. Up in the ancient cupola, however, 
sat the image said to have been carved by Que- 
tzal's own hand. Still the fair face looked out 
benignly on its realm of air ; carelessly the winds 
waved "the plumes of fire" that decked its 
awful head ; and one stony hand yet grasped a 
golden sceptre, while the other held aloft the 
painted shield, — symbols of its dominion.* But 
the servitors and surpliced mystics were gone; 
the cells were very solitudes ; the last paba lin- 
gered to protect the image and its mansion, all 
unwitting how, in his faithfulness of love, he him- 
self had assumed the highest prerogative of a god. 

The fire from the urn on the tower flashed a 
red glow down over the azoteas, near a corner of 
which Mualox stood, his beard white and flowing 
as his surplice. Thought of days palmier for him- 
self and more glorious for his temple and god 
struggled to his lips. 

" Children of Azatlan, ye have strayed from his 

* Sahagun, Hist, de Nueva Esp, 


shrine, and dust is on his shield. The temple is 
of his handiwork, but its chambers are voiceless ; 
the morning comes and falls asleep on its steps, 
and no foot disturbs it, no one seeks its blessings. 
Where is the hymn of the choir.? Where the 
prayer ? Where the holiness that rested, like a 
spell, around the altar f Is the valley fruitless, 
and are the gardens without flowers, that he 
should be without offering or sacrifice ? . . . Ah ! 
well ye know that the day is not distant when he 
will glister again in the valley ; when he will come, 
not as of old he departed, the full harvest quick 
ripening in his footsteps, but with the power of 
Mictlan,^ the owl on his skirt, and death in his 
hand. Return, O children, and Tenochtitlan may 
yet live ! " 

In the midst of his pleadings there was a clang 
of sandaled feet on the pavement, and two men 
came near him, and stopped. One of them wore 
the hood and long black gown of a priest; the 
other the full military garb, — burnished casque 
crested with plumes, a fur-trimmed tilmatli, escau- 
pilj and maxtlatly and sandals the thongs of which 
were embossed with silver. He also carried a 
javelin, and a shield with an owl painted on its 
face. Indeed, one will travel far before finding, 
among Christians or unbelievers, his peer. He 
was then not more than twenty-five years old, tall 
and nobly proportioned, and with a bearing truly 
royal. In Spain I have seen eyes as large and 

1 The Mexican Hell. The owl was the symbol of the Devil, 
whose name signifies ** the rational owl." 


lustrous, but none of such power and variety of 
expression. His complexion was merely the brown 
of the sun. Though very masculine, his features, 
especially when the spirit was in repose, were soft- 
ened by an expression unusually gentle and attrac- 
tive. Such was the 'tzin Guatamo, or, as he is 
more commonly known in history, Guatamozin, 
— the highest, noblest type of his race, blending 
in one its genius and heroism, with but few of its 

" Mualox," said the priestly stranger. 

The paba turned, and knelt, and kissed the 

" O king, pardon your slave ! He was dream- 
ing of his country." 

"No slave of mine, but Quetzal's. Up, Mua- 
lox ! " said Montezuma, throwing back the hood 
that covered his head. " Holy should be the dust 
that mingles in your beard ! " 

And the light from the tower shone full on the 
face of him, — the priest of lore profound, and 
monarch wise of thought, for whom Heaven was 
preparing a destiny most memorable among the 
melancholy episodes of history. 

A slight mustache shaded his upper lip, and 
thin, dark beard covered his chin and throat ; his 
nose was straight ; his brows curved archly ; his 
forehead was broad and full, while he seemed pos- 
sessed of height and strength. His neck was 
round, muscular, and encircled by a collar of 
golden wires. His manner was winsome, and he 
spoke to the kneeling man in a voice clear, dis- 

A clang of sandaled feet 


tinct, and sufficiently emphatic for the king he 

Mualox arose, and stood with downcast eyes, 
and hands crossed over his breast. 

" Many a coming of stars it has been," he said, 
"since the old shrine has known the favor of 
gift from Montezuma. Gloom of clouds in a vale 
of firs is not darker than the mood of Quetzal' ; 
but to the poor paba, your voice, O king, is wel- 
come as the song of the river in the ear of the 

The king looked up at the fire on the tower. 

" Why should the mood of Quetzal' be dark ? 
A new teocallis holds his image. His priests are 
proud ; and they say he is happy, ai^d that when 
he comes from the golden land his canoe will be 
full of blessings." 

Mualox sighed, and when he ventured to raise 
his eyes to the king's, they were wet with tears. 

"O king, have you forgotten that chapter of 
the teoamoxtli? in which is written how this CO 
was built, and its first fires lighted, by Quetzal' 
himself ? The new pyramid may be grand ; its 
towers may be numberless, and its fires far reach- 
ing as the sun itself : but hope not that will sat- 
isfy the god, while his own house is desolate. In 
the name of Quetzal', I, his true servant, tell you, 
never again look for smile from Tlapallan." 

The paba's speech was bold, and the king 
frowned ; but in the eyes of the venerable man 

^ Bernal Diaz, HisL de la Conquista. 

* The Divine Book, or Bible. Ixtlil's Relaciones, MS. 


there was the unaccountable fascination men- 
tioned by Iztlil*. 

*' I remember the Mualox of my father's day ; 
surely he was not as you are ! " Then, laying his 
hand on the 'tzin's arm, the monarch added, " Did 
you not say the holy man had something to tell 
me ? " 

Mualox answered, " Even so, O king ! Few are 
the friends left the paba, now that his religion and 
god are mocked ; but the *tzin is faithful. At my 
bidding he went to the palace. Will Montezuma 
go with his servant ? " 


"Only into the Ca." 

The monarch faltered. 

" Dread be from you ! " said Mualox. " Think 
you it is as hard to be faithful to a king as to a 
god whom even he has abandoned } " 

Montezuma was touched. "Let us go," he 
said to the *tzin. 

m '* 

■I '^' 



UALOX led them into the 
tower. The light of purpled 
lamps filled the sacred place, 
and played softly around the 
idol, before which they bowed. 
Then he took a light from the 
altar, and conducted them to the asoteas, and 
down into the courtyard, from whence they en- 
tered a hall leading on into the Cd, 

The way was labyrinthine, and both the king 
and the 'tzin became bewUdered ; they only knew 
that they descended several stairways, and walked 
a considerable distance ; nevertheless, they sub- 
mitted themselves entirely to their guide, who went 
forward without hesitancy. At last he stopped ; 
and, by the light which he held up for the pur- 
pose, they saw in a wall an aperture roughly exca- 
vated, and large enough to admit them singly. 


"You have read the Holy Book, wise king," 
said Mualox. " Can you not recall its saying that, 
before the founding of Tenochtitlan, a CA was 
begun, with chambers to lie under the bed of the 
lake ? Especially, do you not remember the decla- 
ration that, in some of those chambers, besides a 
store of wealth so vast as to be beyond the calcu- 
lation of men, there were prophecies to be read, 
written on the walls by a god ? " 

" I remember it," said the king. 

" Give me faith, then, and I will show you all 
you there read." 

Thereupon the paba stepped into the aperture, 
saying, — 

" Mark ! I am now standing under the eastern 
wall of the old CO." 

He passed through, and they followed him, and 
were amazed. 

" Look around, O king ! You are in one of the 
chambers mentioned in the Holy Book." 

The light penetrated but a short distance, so 
that Montezuma could form no idea of the extent 
of the apartment. He would have thought it a 
great natural cavern but for the floor smoothly 
paved with alternate red and gray flags, and some 
massive stone blocks rudely piled up in places to 
support the roof. 

As they proceeded, Mualox said, "On every 
side of us there are rooms through which we 
might go till, in stormy weather, the waves of the 
lake can be heard breaking overhead." 

In a short time they again stopped. 


" We are nearly there. Son of a king, is your 
heart strong ? " said Mualox solemnly. 

Montezuma made no answer. 

"Many a time/' continued the paba, "your 
glance has rested on the tower of the old CA, 
then flashed to where, in prouder state, your 
pyramids rise. You never thought the gray pile 
you smiled at was the humblest of all Quetzal's 
works. Can a man, though a king, outdo a 

" I never thought so ; I never thought so ! " 

But the mystic did not notice the deprecation. 

"See," he said, speaking louder, "the pride of 
man says, I will build upward that the sun may 
show my power ; but the gods are too great for 
pride; so the sun shines not on their especial 
glories, which as frequently lie in the earth and 
sea as in the air and heavens. O mighty king ! 
You crush the worm under your sandal, never 
thinking that its humble life is more wonderful 
than all your temples and state. It was the same 
folly that laughed at the simple tower of Quetzal', 
which has mysteries " — 

" Mysteries ! " said the king. 

" I will show you wealth enough to restock the 
mines and visited valleys with all their plundered 
gold and jewels." 

" You are dreaming, paba." 

" Come, then ; let us see ! " 

They moved past some columns, and came be- 
fore a great, arched doorway, through which 
streamed a brilliance like day. 


" Now, let your souls be strong ! " 

They entered the door, and for a while were 
blinded by the glare, and could see only the floor 
covered with grains of gold large as wheat Mov- 
ing on, they came to a great stone table, and 

"You wonder; and so did I, until I was re- 
minded that a god had been here. Look up, O 
king! look up, and see the handiwork of Que- 
tzal' ! " 

The chamber was broad and square. The ob- 
struction of many pillars, forming the stay of the 
roof, was compensated by their lightness and won- 
derful carving. Lamps, lit by Mualox in antici- 
pation of the royal coming, blazed in all quarters. 
The ceiling was covered with lattice-work of shin- 
ing white and yellow metals, the preciousness of 
which was palpable to eyes accustomed like the 
monarch's. Where the bars crossed each other, 
there were fanciful representations of flowers, 
wrought in gold, some of them large as shields, 
and garnished with jewels that burned with star- 
like fires. Between the columns, up and down 
ran rows of brazen tables, bearing urns and vases 
of the royal metals, higher than tall men, and 
carved all over with gods in bas-relief, not as hid- 
eous caricatures, but beautiful as love and Grecian 
skill could make them. Between the vases and 
urns there were heaps of rubies and pearls and 
brilliants, amongst which looked out softly the 
familiar, pale-green lustre of the ckalckuites, or 


priceless Aztecan diamond.^ And here and there, 
like guardians of the buried beauty and treasure, 
statues looked down from tall pedestals, crowned 
and armed, as became the kings and demi-gods 
of a great and martial people. The monarch was 
speechless. Again and again he surveyed the 
golden chamber. As if seeking an explanation, 
but too overwhelmed for words, he turned to 

" And now does Montezuma believe his servant 
dreaming.?" said the paba. "Quetzal' directed 
the discovery of the chamber. I knew of it, O 
king, before you were bom. And here is the 
wealth of which I spoke. If it so confounds you, 
how much more will the other mystery ! I have 
dug up a prophecy; from darkness plucked a 
treasure richer than all these. O king, I will 
give you to read a message from the gods ! " 

The monarch's face became bloodless, and it 
had now not a trace of skepticism. 

"I will show you from Quetzal' himself that 
the end of your Empire is at hand, and that 
every wind of the earth is full sown with woe to 
you and yours. The writing is on the walls. 

And he led the king, followed by Guatamozin, 
to the northern corner of the eastern wall, on 
which, in square marble panels, bas-relief style, 
were hierograms and sculptured pictures of men, 

1 A kind of emerald, uaed altogether by the nobility. Saha- 
gun. Hist, de Nueva Rsp. 


executed apparently by the same hand that chis- 
eled the statues in the room. The ground of the 
carvings was coated with coarse gray coral, which 
had the effect to bring out the white figures with 
marvelous perfection. 

"This, O king, is the writing," said Mualox, 
"which begins here, and continues around the 
walls. I will read, if you please to hear." 

Montezuma waved his hand, and the paba pro- 

"This figure is that of the first king of Te- 
nochtitlan; the others are his followers. The 
letters record the time of the march from the 
north. Observe that the first of the writing — 
its commencement — is here in the north." 

After a little while, they moved on to the sec- 
ond panel. 

"Here," said Mualox, "is represented the 
march of the king. It was accompanied with 
battles. See, he stands with lifted javelin, his 
foot on the breast of a prostrate foe. His follow- 
ers dance and sound shells ; the priests sacrifice 
a victim. The king has won a great victory." 

They stopped before the third panel. 

" And here the monarch is still on the march. 
He is in the midst of his warriors ; no doubt the 
crown he is receiving is that of the ruler of a 
conquered city." 

This cartoon Montezuma examined closely. 
The chief, or king, was distinguished by a crown 
in all respects like that then in the palace ; the 
priests, by their long gowns ; and the warriors, 


by their arms, which, as they were counterparts 
of those still in use, sufficiently identified the 
wanderers. Greatly was the royal inspector 
troubled. And as the paba slowly conducted 
him from panel to panel, he forgot the treasure 
with which the chamber was stored. What he 
read was the story of his race, the record of their 
glory. The whole eastern wall, he found, when 
he had passed before it, given to illustrations of 
the crusade from Azatlan, the fatherland, north- 
ward so far that corn was gathered in the snow, 
and flowers were the wonder of the six weeks* 

In front of the first panel on the southern wall 
Mualox said, — 

" All we have passed is the first era in the his- 
tory ; this is the beginning of the second ; and 
the first writing on the western wall will com- 
mence a third. Here the king stands on a rock ; 
a priest points him to an eagle on a cactus, hold- 
ing a serpent. At last they have reached the 
place where Tenochtitlan is to be founded." 

The paba passed on. 

"Here," he said, "are temples and palaces. 
The king reclines on a couch ; the city has been 

And before another panel, — " Look well to 
this, O king ! A new character is introduced ; 
here it is before an altar, offering a sacrifice of 
fruits and flowers. It is Quetzal' ! In his wor- 
ship, you recollect, there is no slaughter of vic- 
tims. My hands are pure of blood." 


The Quetzal*, with its pleasant face, flowing 
curls, and simple costume, seemed to have a 
charm for Montezuma, for he mused over it a 
long time. Some distance on, the figure again 
appeared, stepping into a canoe, while the people, 
temples, and palaces of the city were behind it. 
Mualox explained, " See, O king ! The fair god 
is departing from Tenochtitlan ; he has been ban- 
ished. Saddest of all the days was that ! " 

And so, the holy man interpreting, they moved 
along the southern wall. Not a scene but was 
illustrative of some incident memorable in the 
Aztecan history. And the reviewers were struck 
with the faithfulness of the record not less than 
with the beauty of the work. 

On the western wall, the first cartoon repre- 
sented a young man sweeping the steps of a tem- 
ple. Montezuma paused before it amazed, and 
Guatamozin for the first time cried out, "It is 
the king ! It is the king ! " The likeness was 

After that came a coronation scene. The teo- 
tuctli was placing a panache'^ on Montezuma's 
head. In the third cartoon, he was with the 
army, going to battle. In the fourth, he was 
seated, while a man clad in nequen^ but crowned, 
stood before him. 

1 Or capilliy — the king's crown. A panache was the head- 
dress of a warrior. 

'^ A garment of coarse white material, made from the fibre of 
the aloe, and by court etiquette required to be worn by cour- 
tiers and suitors in the king's presence. The rule appears to 
have been of universal application. 


" You have grown familiar with triumphs, and 
it is many summers since, O king,*' said Mualox ; 
"but you have not yet forgotten the gladness of 
your first conquest. Here is its record. As we 
go on, recaU the kings who were thus made to 
stand before you.'* 

And counting as they proceeded, Montezuma 
found that in every cartoon there was an addi- 
tional figure crowned and in nequen. When they 
came to the one next the last on the western 
wall, he said, — 

" Show me the meaning of all this : here are 
thirty kings." 

"Will the king tell his slave the number of 
cities he has conquered } " 

He thought a while, and replied, "Thirty." 

" Then the record is faithful. It started with 
the first king of Tenochtitlan ; it came down to 
your coronation ; now, it has numbered your con- 
quests. See you not, O king.? Behind us, all 
the writing is of the past ; this is Montezuma and 
Tenochtitlan as they are : the present is before 
us ! Could the hand that set this chamber and 
carved these walls have been a man's t Who but 
a god six cycles ago could have foreseen that a 
son of the son of Axaya' would carry the rulers 
of thirty conquered cities in his train } " 

The royal visitor listened breathlessly. He 
began to comprehend the writing, and thrill with 
fast-coming presentiments. Yet he struggled with 
his fears. 

" Prophecy has to do with the future," he said ; 


" and you have shown me nothing that the sculp- 
tors and jewelers in my palace cannot do. Would 
you have me believe all this from Quetzal', show 
me something that is to come." 

Mualox led him to the next scene which repre- 
sented the king sitting in state ; above him a 
canopy ; his nobles and the women of his house- 
hold around him ; at his feet the people ; and all 
were looking at a combat going on between 

" You have asked for prophecy, — behold ! " 
said Mualox. 

" I see nothing," replied the king. 

" Nothing ! Is not this the celebration to-mor- 
row ? Since it was ordered, could your sculptors 
have executed what you see ? " 

Back to the monarch's face stole the pallor. 

" Look again, O king ! You only saw yourself, 
your people and warriors. But what is this ? " 

Walking up, he laid his finger on the represen- 
tation of a man landing from a canoe. 

"The last we beheld of Quetzal'," he continued, 
" was on the southern wall ; his back was to Te- 
nochtitlan, which he was leaving with a curse. 
All you have heard about his promise to return is 
true. He himself has written the very day, and 
here it is. Look ! While the king, his warriors 
and people, are gathered to the combat, Quetzal' 
steps from the canoe to the seashore." 

The figure in the carving was scarcely two 
hands high, but exquisitely wrought. With ter- 
ror poorly concealed, Montezuma recognized it. 

" Behold! " said Mualox 


"And now my promise is redeemed. I said 
I would give you to read a message from the 

" Read, Mualbx : I cannot." 

The holy man turned to the writing, and said, 
with a swelling voice, " Thus writes Quetzal' to 
Montezuma, the king ! In the last day he will 
seek to stay my vengeance ; he will call together 
his people ; there will be combat in Tenochtitlan ; 
but in the midst of the rejoicing I will land on the 
seashore, and end the days of Azatlan forever." 

" Forever ! " said the unhappy monarch. " No, 
no ! Read the next writing." 

"There is no other; this is the last." 

The eastern, southern, and western walls had 
been successively passed, and interpreted. Now 
the king turned to the northern wall: it was 
blank ! His eyes flashed, and he almost 
shouted, — 

" Liar ! Quetzal* may come to-morrow, but it 
will be as friend. There is no curse .! " 

The paba humbled himself before the speaker, 
and said, slowly and tearfully, *'The wise king is 
blinded by his hope. When Quetzal' finished this 
chapter, his task was done ; he had recorded the 
last day of perfect glory, and ceased to write 
because, Azatlan being now to perish, there was 
nothing more to record. O unhappy king ! that 
is the curse, and it needed no writing !'* 

Montezuma shook with passion. 

" Lead me hence ; lead me hence ! " he cried. 
" I will watch ; and if Quetzal' comes not on the 


morrow, — comes not during the celebration, — I 
swear to level this temple, and let the lake into 
its chambers ! And you, paba though you be, I 
will drown you like a slave ! Lead on ! " 

Mualox obeyed without a word. Lamp in hand, 
he led his visitors from the splendid chamber up 
to the azoteas of the ancient house. As they 
descended the eastern steps, he knelt, and kissed 
the pavement. 



OLI, the Chalcan, was supposed 
to be the richest citizen, exclusive 
of the nobles, in Tenochtitlan. 
Amongst other properties, he 
owned a house on the eastern 
side of the Tlateloco tianguez^ or 
market-place; which, whether considered archi- 
tecturally, or with reference to the business to 
which it was devoted, or as the device of an unas- 
soilzied heathen, was certainly very remarkable. 
Its portico had six great columns of white marble 
alternating six others of green porphyry, with a 
roof guarded by a parapet intricately and taste- 
fully carved ; while cushioned lounges, heavy cur- 
tains festooned and flashing with cochineal, and a 
fountain of water pure enough for the draught 
of a king, all within the columns, perfected it as 
a retreat from the sultry summer sun. 

The house thus elegantly garnished was not a 
meson, or a cafe, or a theatre, or a broker's office ; 
but rather a combination of them all, and there- 
fore divided into many apartments ; of which one 


was for the sale of beverages favorite among the 
wealthy and noble Aztecs, — Bacchic inventions, 
with pulqu€ for chief staple, since it had the 
sanction of antiquity and w:as mildly intoxicating ; 
another was a restaurant, where the cuisine was 
only excelled at the royal table ; indeed, there was 
a story abroad that the king had several times 
borrowed the services of the Chalcan's artistes; 
but, whether derived from the master or his 
slaves, the shrewd reader will conclude from it, 
that the science of advertising was known and 
practiced as well in Tenochtitlan as in Madrid 
Nor were these alL Under the same roof were 
rooms for the amusement of patrons, — for read- 
ing, smoking, and games ; one in especial for a 
play of hazard called totoloque^ then very popular, 
because a passion of Montezuma s. Finally, as 
entertainments not prohibited by the teotuctli, a 
signal would, at any time, summon a minstrel, a 
juggler, or a dancing-girl. Hardly need I say that 
the establishment was successful. Always ringing 
with music, and of nights always resplendent with 
lamps, it was always overflowing with custom. 

" So old Tepaja wanted you to be a merchant," 
said the Chalcan, in his full, round voice, as, com- 
fortably seated under the curtains of his portico, 
he smoked his pipe, and talked with our young 
friend, the Tihuancan. 

" Yes. Now that he is old, he thinks war dan- 

"You mistake him, boy. He merely thinks 
with me, that there is something more real in 


wealth and many slaves. As he has grown older, 
he has grown wiser." 

" As you will. I could not be a merchant." 

" Whom did you think of serving } *' 

"The'tzin Guatamo."* 

" I know him. He comes to my portico some- 
times, but not to borrow money. You see, I fre- 
quently act as broker, and take deposits from the 
merchants and securities from the spendthrift no- 
bles ; he, however, has no vices. When not with 
the army, he passes the time in study ; though 
they do say he goes a great deal to the palace 
to make love to the princess. And now that I 
reflect, I doubt if you can get place with him." 

"Why so.?" 

" Well, he keeps no idle train, and the time is 
very quiet. If he were going to the frontier it 
would be different." 


" You see, boy, he is the bravest man and best 
fighter in the army ; and the sensible fellows of 
moderate skill and ambition have no fancy for 
the hot place in a fight, which is generally where 
he is." 

" The discredit is not to him, by Our Mother ! " 
said Hualpa laughing. 

The broker stopped to cherish the fire in his 
pipe, — an act which the inexperienced consider 
wholly incompatible with the profound reflection 
he certainly indulged. When next he spoke, it 

^ *Tgm was a title equivalent to lord in English. Guatamo- 
tzirtf as compounded, signifies Lord Guatamo. 


was with smoke wreathing his round face, as 
white clouds sometimes wreathe the full moon. 

" About an hour ago a fellow came here, and 
said he had heard that Iztlil', the Tezcucan, had 
challenged the 'tzin to go into the arena with him 
to-morrow. Not a bad thing for the god Quetzal*, 
if all I hear be true ! " 

Again the pipe, and then the continuation. 
. " You see, when the combat was determined 
on, there happened to be in the temples two 
Othmies and two Tlascalans, warriors of very 
great report. As soon as it became known that, 
by the king's choice, they were the challengers, 
the young fellows about the palace shunned the 
sport, and there was danger that the god would 
find himself without a champion. To avoid such 
a disgrace, the 'tzin was coming here to-night to 
hang his shield in the portico. If he and the 
Tezcucan both take up the fight, it will be a great 
day indeed." 

The silence that ensued was broken by the 
hunter, whom the gossip had plunged into revery. 

'* I pray your pardon, Xoli ; but you said, I 
think, that the lords hang back from the danger. 
Can any one volunteer } " 

" Certainly ; any one who is a warrior, and is in 
time. Are you of that mind ? " 

The Chalcan took down the pipe, and looked at 
him earnestly. 

" If I had the arms *' — 

" But you know nothing about it, — not even 
how such combats are conducted ! " 


The broker was now astonished. 

" Listen to me," he said. " These combats are 
always in honor of some one or more of the Azte- 
can gods, — generally of Huitzir, god of war. 
They used to be very simple affairs. A small 
platform of stone, of the height of a man, was put 
up in the midst of the tiangtiez^ so as to be seen 
by the people standing around ; and upon it, in 
pairs, the champions fought their duels. This, 
however, was too plain to suit the tastes of the 
last Montezuma; and he changed the ceremony 
into a spectacle really honorable and great. Now, 
the arena is first prepared, — a central space in a 
great many rows of seats erected so as to rise one 
above the other. At the proper time, the people, 
the priests, and the soldiers go in and take posses- 
sion of their allotted places. Some time previous, 
the quarters of the prisoners taken in battle are 
examined, and two or more of the best of the war- 
riors found there are chosen by the king, and put 
in training for the occasion. They are treated 
fairly, and are told that, if they fight and win, they 
shall be crowned as heroes, and returned to their 
tribes. No need, I think, to tell you how brave 
men fight when stimulated by hope of glory and 
hope of life. When chosen, their names are pub- 
lished, and their shields hung up in a portico on 
the other side of the square yonder ; after which 
they are understood to be the challengers of any 
equal number of warriors who dare become cham- 
pions of the god or gods in whose honor the cele- 
bration is had. Think of the approved skill and 


valor of the foe ; think of the thousands who will 
be present ; think of your own inexperience in 
war, and of your youth, your stature hardly gained, 
your muscles hardly matured ; think of every- 
thing tending to weaken your chances of success, 
— and then speak to me." 

Hualpa met the sharp gaze of the Chalcan 
steadily, and answered, "I am thought to have 
some skill with the bow and maqnahuitl Get me 
the opportunity, and I will fight." 

And Xoli, who was a sincere friend, reflected 
a while. " There is peril in the undertaking, to be 
sure ; but then he is resolved to be a warrior, and 
if he survives, it is glory at once gained, fortune 
at once made." Then he arose, and, smiling, said 
aloud, " Let us go to the portico. If the list be 
not full, you shall have the arms, — yes, by the 
Sun ! as the lordly Aztecs swear, — the very best 
in Tenochtitlan." 

And they lifted the curtains, and stepped into 
the tiangtiez} The light of the fires on the tem- 
ples was hardly more in strength than the shine 
of the moon ; so that torches had to be set up at 
intervals over the celebrated square. On an ordi- 
nary occasion, with a visitation of forty thousand 
busy buyers and sellers, it was a show of mer- 
chants and merchantable staples worthy the chief 
mart of an empire so notable ; but now, drawn by 
the double attraction of market and celebration, 

1 The great market-place or square of Tlateloco. The Span- 
iards called it tianguez. For description, see Prescott, Conq. of 
MexicOy vol. ii. book iv. ; Bernal Diaz, Hist, de la Conquista. 


the multitude that thronged it was trebly greater ; 
yet the order was perfect. 

An officer, at the head of a patrol, passed them 
with a prisoner. 

" Ho, Chalcan ! If you would see justice done, 
follow me." 

"Thanks, thanks, good friend; I have been 
before the judges too often already." 

So the preservation of the peace was no mys- 

The friends made way slowly, giving the Ti- 
huancan time to gratify his curiosity. He found 
the place like a great national fair, in which few 
branches of industry were unrepresented. There 
were smiths who worked in the coarser metals, 
and jewelers skillful as those of Europe ; there 
were makers and dealers in furniture, and sandals, 
and plumaje ; at one place men were disposing 
of fruits, flowers, and vegetables ; not far away 
fishermen boasted their stock caught that day in 
the fresh waters of Chalco ; tables of pastry and 
maize bread were set next the quarters of the 
hunters of Xilotepec ; the armorers, clothiers, and 
dealers in cotton were each of them a separate 
host. In no land where a science has been taught 
or a book written have the fine arts been dishon- 
ored ; and so in the great market of Tenochtitlan 
there were no galleries so rich as those of the 
painters, nor was any craft allowed such space for 
their exhibitions as the sculptors. 

They halted an instant before a porch full of 
slaves. A rapid glance at the miserable wretches. 


and Xoli said pitilessly, " Bah ! Mictlan has many 
such. Let us go." 

Farther on they came to a platform on which a 
band of mountebanks was performing. Hualpa 
would have stayed to witness their tableaux, but 
Xoli was impatient. 

"You see yon barber's shop," he said; "next 
to it is the portico we seek. Come on ! " 

At last they arrived there, and mixed with the 
crowd curious like themselves. 

" Ah, boy, you are too late ! The list is full." 

The Chalcan spoke regretfully. 

Hualpa looked for himself. On a clear white 
wall, that fairly glistened with the flood of light 
pouring upon it, he counted eight shields, or 
gages of battle. Over the four to the left were 
picture-written, "Othmies," " Tlascalans." They 
belonged to the challengers, and were battered 
and stained, proving that their gathering had been 
in no field of peace. The four to the right were 
of the Aztecs, and all bore devices except one. 
A sentinel stood silently beneath them. 

"Welcome, Chalcan!" said a citizen, saluting 
the broker. " You are in good time to tell us the 
owners of the shields here." 

" Of the Aztecs .? " 


"Well," said Xoli slowly and gravely. "The 
shields I do not know are few and of little note. 
At one time or another I have seen them all pass 
my portico going to battle." 

A bystander, listening, whispered to his friends : 

'^ I can find you enough such here^* 




" The braggart ! He says nothing of the times the 
owners passed his door to get a pinch of his snuff.*' 

" Or to get drunk on his abominable pulque^'' 
said another. 

" Or to get a loan, leaving their palaces in 
pawn," said a third party. 

But Xoli went on impressively, — 

" Those two to the left belong to a surly Otoni- 
pan and a girl-faced Cholulan. They had a quar- 
rel in the king's garden, and this is the upshot. 
That other, — surely, O citizens, you know the 
shield of Iztlil', the Tezcucan ! " 

" Yes ; but its neighbor } " 

" The plain shield ! Its owner has a name to 
win. I can find you enough such here in the 
market to equip an army. Say, soldier, whose 
gage is that } " 

The sentinel shook his head. " A page came 
not long ago, and asked me to hang it up by the 
side of the Tezcucan's. He said not whom he 

"Well, may be you know the challengers." 

" Two of the shields belong to a father and son 
of the tribe of Othmies. In the last battle the 
son alone slew eight Cempoallan warriors for us. 
Tlascalans, whose names I do not know, own 
the others." 

" Do you think they will escape } " asked a 

The sentinel smiled grimly, and said, " Not if it 
be true that yon plain shield belongs to Guatamo, 
the 'tzin." 


Directly a patrol, rudely thrusting the citizens 
aside, came to relieve the guard. In the confu- 
sion, the Chalcan whispered to his friend, " Let 
us go back. There is no chance for you in the 
arena to-morrow ; and this new fellow is sullen ; 
his tongue would not wag though I promised him 
drink from the king s vase." 

Soon after they reached the Chalcan's portico 
and disappeared in the building, the cry of the 
night-watchers arose from the temples, and the 
market was closed. The great crowd vanished I 
in stall and portico the lights were extinguished ; 
but at once another scene equally tumultuous 
usurped the tianguez. Thousands of half-naked 
tatnanes rushed into the deserted place, and all 
night long it resounded, like a Babel, with clamor 
of tongues, and notes of mighty preparation. 

..K , 



^f^^j^^S HEN Montezuma departed from the 
y^WBB& old Ca for his palace, it was not to 
™"*' sleep or rest. The revelation that 
so disturbed him, that held him 
wordless on the street, and made 
him shrink from his people, wild with the prom- 
ise of pomp and combat, would not be shut out 
by gates and guards ; it clung to his memory, 
and with him stood by the fountain, walked in the 


garden, and laid down on his couch. Royalty 
had no medicine for the trouble ; he was restless 
as a fevered slave, and at times muttered prayers, 
pronouncing no name but Quetzal's. When the 
morning approached, he called Maxtla, and bade 
him get ready his canoe : from Chapultepec, the 
palace and tomb of his fathers, he would see the 
sun rise. 

From one of the westerly canals they put out. 
The lake was still rocking the night on its bosom, 
and no light other than of the stars shone in the 
east. The gurgling sound of waters parted by 
the rushing vessel and the regular dip of the 
paddles were all that disturbed the brooding of 
majesty abroad thus early on Tezcuco. 

The canoe struck the white pebbles that strewed 
the landing at the princely property just as dawn 
was dappling the sky. On the highest point of 
the hill there was a tower from which the kings 
were accustomed to observe the stars. Thither 
Montezuma went. Maxtla, who alone dared fol- 
low, spread a mat for him on the tiles ; kneeling 
upon it, and folding his hands worshipfuUy upon 
his breast, he looked to the east. 

And the king was learned ; indeed, one more 
so was not in all his realm. In his student days, 
and in his priesthood, before he was taken from 
sweeping the temple to be arch-ruler, he had 
gained astrological craft, and yet practiced it from 
habit. The heavens, with their blazonry, were to 
him as pictured parchments. He loved the stars 
for their sublime mystery, and had faith in them 


as oracles. He consulted them always; his ar- 
mies marched at their bidding ; and they and the 
gods controlled every movement of his civil polity. 
But as he had never before been moved by so 
great a trouble, and as the knowledge he now 
sought directly concerned his throne and nations, 
he came to consult and question the Morning, 
that intelligence higher and purer than the stars. 
If Quetzal' was angered, and would that day land 
for vengeance, he naturally supposed the Sun, his 
dwelling-place, would give some warning. So he 
came seeking the mood of the god from the 

And while he knelt, gradually the gray dawn 
melted into purple and gold. The stars went 
softly out. Long rays, like radiant spears, shot 
up and athwart the sky. As the indications mul- 
tiplied, his hopes arose. Farther back he threw 
the hood from his brow ; the sun seemed coming 
clear and cloudless above the mountains, kindling 
his heart no less than the air and earth. 

A wide territory, wrapped in the dim light, ex- 
tended beneath his feet. There slept Tenochti- 
tlan, with her shining temples and blazing towers, 
her streets and resistless nationality ; there were 
the four lakes, with their blue waters, their shores 
set with cities, villages, and gardens ; beyond them 
lay eastern Anahuac, the princeliest jewel of the 
Empire. What with its harvests, its orchards, 
and its homesteads, its forests of oak, sycamore, 
and cedar, its population busy, happy, and faith- 
ful, contented as tillers of the soil, and brave as 


lions in time of need, it was all of Aden he had 
ever known or dreamed. 

In the southeast, above a long range of moun- 
tains, rose the volcanic peaks poetized by the 
Aztecs into " The White Woman " ^ and " The 
Smoking Hill."^ Mythology had covered them 
with sanctifying faith, as, in a different age and 
more classic clime, it clothed the serene mountain 
of Thessaly. 

But the king saw little of all this beauty ; he 
observed nothing but the sun, which was rising a 
few degrees north of "The Smoking Hill." In 
all the heavens round there was not a fleck ; and 
already his heart throbbed with delight, when sud- 
denly a cloud of smoke rushed upward from the 
mountain, and commenced gathering darkly about 
its white summit. Quick to behold it, he scarcely 
hushed a cry of fear, and instinctively waved his 
hand, as if, by a kingly gesture, to stay the erup- 
tion. Slowly the vapor crept over the roseate 
sky, and, breathless and motionless, the seeker of 
the god's mood and questioner of the Morning 
watched its progress. Across the pathway of the 
sun it stretched, so that when the disk wheeled 
fairly above the mountain-range, it looked like a 
ball of blood. 

The king was a reader of picture-writing, and 
skillful in deducing the meaning of men from 
cipher and hieroglyph. Straightway he inter- 
preted the phenomenon as a direful portent ; and 
because he came looking for omens, the idea that 

1 Iztaccihuatl. '^ Popocatepetl. 


this was a message sent him expressly from the 
gods was but a right royal vanity. He drew the 
hood over his face again, and drooped his head 
disconsolately upon his breast. His mind filled 
with a host of gloomy thoughts. The revelation 
of Mualox was prophecy here confirmed, — Que- 
tzal* was coming ! Throne, power, people, — all 
the glories of his country and Empire, — he saw 
snatched from his nerveless grasp, and floating 
away, like the dust of the valley. 

After a while he arose to depart. One more 
look he gave the sun before descending from the 
roof, and shuddered at the sight of city, lake, 
valley, the cloud itself, and the sky above it, all 
colored with an ominous crimson. 

" Behold ! " he said tremulously to Maxtla, " to- 
day we will sacrifice to Quetzal' : how long until 
Quetzal' sacrifices to himself ? " 

The chief cast down his eyes ; for he knew how 
dangerous it was to look on royalty humbled by 
fear. Then Montezuma shaded his face again, 
and left the proud old hill, with a sigh for its pal- 
aces and the beauty of its great cypress groves. 


S the morning advanced, the city 
grew fully animate. A festal spirit 
was abroad, seeking display in 
masks, mimes, and processions. 
Jugglers performed on the street 
corners; dancing-girls, with tam- 
bours and long elf-locks dressed in 
flowers, possessed themselves of the 

t smooth sidewalks. Very plainly, the 

evil omen of the morning affected 
the king more than his people. 
The day advanced clear and beautiful. In the 
eastern sky the smoke of the volcano still lingered ; 
but the sun rose above it, and smiled on the val- 
ley, like a loving god. 

At length the tambour in the great temple 
sounded the signal of assemblage. Its deep tones, 
penetrating every recess of the town and rushing 
across the lake, were heard in the villages on the 
distant shores. Then, in steady currents, the 
multitudes set forward for the tianguez. The chi- 
nampas were deserted ; hovels and palaces gave 
up their tenantry ; canoes, gay with garlands, were 
abandoned in the waveless canals. The women 

The tambour in the temple sounded the sigtial 


and children came down from the roofs ; from all 
the temples — all but the old one with the soli- 
tary gray tower and echoless court — poured 
the priesthood in processions, headed by chanting 
choirs, and interspersed with countless sacred 
symbols. Many were the pomps, but that of the 
warriors surpassed all others. Marching in col- 
umns of thousands, they filled the streets with 
flashing arms and gorgeous regalia, roar of atta- 
bals and peals of minstrelsy. 

About the same time the royal palanquin stood 
at the palace portal, engoldened, jeweled, and 
surmounted with a panache of green plumes. 
Cuitlahua, Cacama, Maxtla, and the lords of Tla- 
copan, Tepejaca, and Cholula, with other nobles 
from the provinces far and near, were collected 
about it in waiting, sporting on their persons the 
wealth of principalities. When the monarch came 
out, they knelt, and every one of them placed his 
palm on the ground before him. On the last 
stone at the portal he stopped, and raised liis eyes 
to the sky. A piece of aguavcj fluttering like a 
leaf, fell so near him that he reached out his hand 
and caught it. 

"Read it, my lords," he said, after a moment'? 

The paper contained only the picture of an 
eagle attacked by an owl, and passed from hand 
to hand. Intent on deciphering the writing, none 
thought of inquiring whether its coming was of 
design or accident. 

" What does it mean, my lord Cacama } " asked 
the monarch gravely. 


Cacama's eyes dropped as he replied, — 

" When we write of you, O king, we paint an 
eagle ; when we write of the 'tzin Guatamo, we 
paint an owl." 

" What ! " said the lord Cuitlahua, " would the 
'tzin attack his king ? *' 

And the monarch looked from one to the other 
strangely, saying only, " The owl is the device on 
his shield." 

Then he entered the palanquin ; whereupon 
some of the nobles lifted it on their shoulders, 
and the company, in procession, set out for the 
tianguez. On the way they were joined by Iz- 
tlir, the Tezcucan ; and it was remarkable that, 
of them all, he was the only one silent about the 

The Iztapalapan street, of great width, and on 
both sides lined with gardens, palaces, and tem- 
ples, was not only the boast of Tenochtitlan ; its 
beauty was told in song and story throughout the 
Empire. The signal of assemblage for the day's 
great pastime found Xoli and his provincial friend 
lounging along the broad pave of the beautiful 
thoroughfare. They at once started for the tian- 
guez. The broker was fat, and it was trouble- 
some for him to keep pace with the hunter ; nev- 
ertheless, they overtook a party of tamanes going 
in the same direction, and bearing a palanquin 
richly caparisoned. The slaves, very sumptu- 
ously clad, proceeded slowly and with downcast 
eyes, and so steadily that the carriage had the 
onward, gliding motion of a boat. 


" Lower, — down, boy ! See you not the green 
panache ? " whispered Xoli, half frightened. 

Too late. The Chalcan, even as he whispered, 
touched the pavement, but Hualpa remained 
erect : not only that ; he looked boldly into the 
eyes of the occupants of the palanquin, — two 
women, whose beauty shone upon him like a 
sudden light. Then he bent his head, and his 
heart closed upon the recollection of what he saw 
so that it never escaped. The picture was of a 
girl, almost a woman, laughing ; opposite her, 
and rather in the shade of the fringed curtain, 
one older, though young, and grave and stately ; 
her hair black, her face oval, her eyes large and 
lustrous. To her he made his involuntary obei- 
sance. Afterwards she reminded many a Span- 
iard of the dark-eyed kermosura with whom he 
had left love-tokens in his native land. 

" They are the king's daughters, the princesses 
Tula and Nenetzin,'* said Xoli, when fairly past 
the carriage. "And as you have just come up 
from the country, listen. Green is the royal 
color, and belongs to the king's family ; and wher- 
ever met, in the city or on the lake, the people 
salute it. Though what they meet be but a green 
feather in a slave's hand, they salute. Remem- 
ber the lesson. By the way, the gossips say that 
Guatamozin will marry Tula, the eldest one." 

" She is very beautiful," said the hunter, as to 
himself, and slackening his steps. 

" Are you mad } " cried the broker, seizing his 
arm. " Would you bring the patrol upon us ? 


They are not for such as you. Come on. It 
may be we can get seats to see the king and his 
whole household." 

At the entrance to the arena there was a press 
which the police could hardly control. In the 
midst of it, Xoli pulled his companion to one side, 
saying, " The king comes ! Let us under the 
staging here until he passes." 

They found themselves, then, close by the 
spears, which, planted in the ground, upheld the 
shields of the combatants ; and when the Tihuan- 
can heard the people, as they streamed in, cheer 
the champions of the god, he grieved sorely that 
he was not one of them. 

The heralds then came up, clearing the way ; 
and all thereabout knelt, and so received the 
monarch. He stopped to inspect the shields ; 
for in all his realm there was not one better 
versed in its heraldry. A diadem, not unlike the 
papal tiara, crowned his head ; his tunic and 
cloak were of the skins of green hummingbirds 
brilliantly iridescent ; a rope of pearls large as 
grapes hung, many times doubled, from his neck 
down over his breast ; his sandals and sandal- 
thongs were embossed with gold, and besides an- 
klets of massive gold, cuishcs of the same metal 
guarded his legs from knee to anklet. Save the 
transparent, lustrous gray of the pearls, his dress 
was of the two colors, green and yellow, and the 
effect was indescribably royal ; yet all the bra- 
very of his trappings could not hide from Hualpa, 
beholding him for the first time, that, like any 


common soul, he was suffering from some trouble 
of mind. 

"So, Cacama," he said pleasantly, after a look 
at the gages, " your brother has a mind to make 
peace with the gods. It is well ! " 

And thereupon Iztlil' himself stepped out and 
knelt before him in battle array, the javelin in his 
hand, and bow, quiver, and maquahuitl at his 
back ; and in his homage the floating feathers of 
his helm brushed the dust from the royal feet. 

" It is well ! " repeated the king, smiling. 
"But, son of my friend, where are your com- 
rades .J^" 

Tlahua, the Otompan, and the young Cholulan, 
equipped like IztUr, rendered their homage also. 
Over their heads he extended his hands, and said 
softly, " They who love the gods, the gods love. 
Put your trust in them, O my children. And 
upon you be their blessing ! " 

And already he had passed the spears : one 
gage was forgotten, one combatant unblessed. 
Suddenly he looked back. 

"Whose shield is that, my lords } " 

All eyes rested upon the plain gage, but no one 

" Who is he that thus mocks the holy cause of 
Quetzal' t Go, Maxtla, and bring him to me ! *' 

Then outspake Iztlil', — 

"The shield is Guatamozin's. Last night he 
challenged me to this combat, and he is not here. 
O king, the owl may be looking for the eagle." 

A moment the sadly serene countenance of the 


monarch knit and flushed as from a passing pain ; 
a moment he regarded the Tezcucan. Then he 
turned to the shields of the Othmies and Tlas- 

" They are a sturdy foe, and I warrant will fight 
hard," he said quietly. "But such victims are 
the delight of the gods. Fail me not, O chil- 
dren ! " 

When the Tihuancan and his chaperone 
climbed half way to the upper row of seats, in the 
quarter assigned to the people, the former was 
amazed. He looked down on a circular arena, 
strewn with white sand from the lake, and large 
enough for manoeuvring half a thousand men. 
It was bounded by a rope, outside of which was a 
broad margin crowded with rank on rank of com- 
mon soldiery, whose shields were arranged before 
them like a wall impervious to a glancing arrow. 
Back from the arena extended the staging, rising 
gradually seat above seat, platform above plat- 
form, until the whole area of the tianguez was 

" Is the king a magician, that he can do this 
thing in a single night ? " asked Hualpa. 

Xoli laughed. "He has done many things 
much greater. The timbers you see were wrought 
long ago, and have been lying in the temples ; 
the tamanes had only to bring them out and put 
them together.*' 

In the east there was a platform, carpeted, fur- 
nished with lounges, and protected from the sun 
by a red canopy ; broad passages of entrance sep- 


arated it from the ruder structure erected for the 
commonalty ; it was also the highest of the plat- 
forms, so that its occupants could overlook the 
whole amphitheatre. This lordlier preparation 
belonged to the king, his household and nobles. 
So, besides his wives and daughters, under the 
red canopy sat the three hundred women of his 
harem, — soft testimony that Orientalism dwelt 
not alone in the sky and palm-trees of the valley. 

As remarked, the margin around the arena 
belonged to the soldiery ; the citizens had seats 
in the north and south ; while the priesthood, su- 
perior to either of them in sanctity of character, 
sat aloof in the west, also screened by a canopy. 
And, as the celebration was regarded in the light 
of a religious exercise, not only did women crowd 
the place, but mothers brought their children, 
that, from the examples of the arena, they might 
learn to be warriors. 

Upon the appearance of the monarch there was 
a perfect calm. Standing a while by his couch, he 
looked- over the scene; and not often has royal 
vision been better filled with all that constitutes 
royalty. Opposite him he saw the servitors of 
his religion ; at his feet were his warriors and peo- 
ple almost innumerable. When, at last, the min- 
strels of the soldiery poured their wild music over 
the theatre, he thrilled with the ecstasy of power. 

The champions for the god then came in ; and 
as they strode across to the western side of the 
arena the air was filled with plaudits and flying 
garlands; but hardly was the welcome ended 


before there was a great hum and stir, as the 
spectators asked each other why the fourth com- 
batant came not with the others. 

"The one with the bright panac/ie, asked you? 
That is Iztlil', the Tezcucan," said XolL 

" Is he not too fine ? " 

" No. Only think of the friends the glitter has 
made him among the women and children." 

The Chalcan laughed heartily at the cynicism. 

"And the broad-shouldered fellow now fixing 
the thongs of his shield ? " 

" The Otompan, — a good warrior. They say 
he goes to battle with the will a girl goes to a 
feast. The other is the Cholulan; he has his 
renown to win, and is too young." 

"But he may have other qualities," suggested 
Hualpa. " I have heard it said that, in a battle 
of arrows, a quick eye is better than a strong 

The broker yawned. " Well, I like not those 
Cholulans. They are proud ; they scorn the 
other nations, even the Aztecs. Probably it is 
well they are better priests than soldiers. Under 
the red canopy yonder I see his father." 

" Listen, good Xoli. I hear the people talking 
about the 'tzin ? Where can he be ? " 

Just then within the wall of shields there came 
a warrior, who strode swiftly toward the solitary 
gage. His array was less splendid than his com- 
rades' ; his helm was of plain leather without 
ornament ; his escaupil was secured by a simple 
loop : yet the people knew him, and shouted ; and 


when he took down the plain shield and fixed it 
to his arm, the approbation of the common sol- 
diery arose like a storm. As they bore such 
shields to battle, he became, as it were, their 
peculiar representative. It was Guatamozin. 

And imder the royal canopy there was rapid 
exchange of whispers and looks ; every mind re- 
verted to the paper dropped so mysteriously into 
the king's hand at the palace door ; and some 
there were, acuter than the rest, who saw cor- 
roboration of the meaning given the writing in 
the fact that the shield the 'tzin now chose was 
without the owl, his usual device. Whether the 
monarch himself was one of them might not be 
said ; his face was as impassive as bronze. 

Next, the Othmies and Tlascalans, dignified 
into common challengers of the proudest chiefs 
of Tenochtitlan, were conducted into the arena. 

The Tlascalans were strong men used to bat- 
tle ; and though, like their companions in danger, 
at first bewildered by the sudden introduction to 
so vast a multitude, they became quickly inured 
to the situation. Of the Othmies, a more promis- 
ing pair of gladiators never exhibited before a 
Roman audience. The father was past the prime 
of life, but erect, broad-shouldered, and of unusual 
dignity ; the son was slighter, and not so tall, but 
his limbs were round and beautiful, and he looked 
as if he might outleap an antelope. The people 
were delighted, and cheered the challengers with 
scarcely less heartiness than their own champions. 
Still, the younger Othmi appeared hesitant, and, 


when the clamor somewhat abated, the sire 
touched him, and said, — 

" Does my boy dream ? What voice is in his 
ear that his heart is so melted? Awake! the 
shield is on the arm of the foe." 

The young man aroused. " I saw the sun on 
the green hills of Othmi. But see!" he said 
proudly and with flashing eyes, "there is no 
weakness in the dreamer's arm." And with the 
words, he seized a bow at his feet, fitted an arrow 
upon the cord, and, drawing full to the head, sent 
it cleaving the sunshine far above them. Every 
eye followed its flight but his own. " The arm, O 
chief, is not stronger than the heart," he added, 
carelessly dropping the bow. 

The old warrior gazed at him tenderly ; but as 
that was no time for the indulgence of affection, 
he turned to the Tlascalans and said, " We must 
be ready : let us arm." 

Each donned a leathern helm, and wrapped 
himself in a quilted escaupil ; each buckled the 
shield on his arm, and tightened the thongs of his 
sandals. Their arms lay at hand. 

Such were the preparations for the combat, 
such the combatants. And as the foemen faced 
each other, awaiting the signal for the mortal 
strife, I fancy no Christian has seen anything 
more beautiful than the theatre. Among the 
faces the gaze swam as in a sea ; the gleaming Of 
arms and ornaments was bewildering ; while the 
diversity of colors in the costumes of the vast 
audience was without comparison. With the ex- 


ception of the arena, the royal platform was the 
cynosure. Behind the king, with a shield faced 
with silver, stood Maxtla, vigilant against treach- 
ery or despair. The array of nobles about the 
couch was imperial ; and what with them, and the 
dark-eyed beauties of his household, and the can- 
opy tingeing the air and softly undulating above 
him, and the mighty congregation of subjects at 
his feet, it was with Montezuma like a revival of 
the glory of the Hystaspes. Yet the presence 
of his power but increased his gloom ; in a short 
time he heard no music and saw no splendor; 
everything reminded him of the last picture on 
the western wall of the golden chamber. 

■•^>.- ^v ^^ 



HE champions for the god 
drew themselves up in the 
wQst, while their challengers 
occupied the east of the 
arena. This position of par- 
ties was the subject of much 
speculation with the spectators, who saw it might 


prove a point of great importance if the engage- 
ment assumed the form of single combats. 

Considering age and appearance, the Tlasca- 
lans were adjudged most dangerous of the chal- 
lengers, — a palm readily awarded to the Tezcu- 
can and the 'tzin on their side. The common 
opinion held also, that the Cholulan, the youngest 
and least experienced of the Aztecs, should have 
been the antagonist of the elder Othmi, whose 
vigor was presumed to be affected by his age ; 
as it was, that combat belonged to Tlahua, the 
Otompan, while the younger Othmi confronted 
the Cholulan. 

And now the theatre grew profoundly still with 

" The day grows old. Let the signal be given." 
And so saying, the king waved his hand, and 
sank indolently back upon his couch. 

A moment after there was a burst of martial 
symphony, and the combat began. 

It was opened with arrows ; and to determine, 
if possible, the comparative skill of the com- 
batants, the spectators watched the commence- 
ment with closest attention. The younger Othmi 
sent his missile straight into the shield of the 
Cholulan, who, from precipitation probably, was 
not so successful. The elder Othmi and his 
antagonist each planted his arrow fairly, as did 
Iztlir and the Tlascalans. But a great outcry of 
applause attended Guatamozin, when his bolt, 
flying across the space, buried its barb in the 
crest of his adversary. A score of feathers, shorn 
away, floated slowly to the sand. 


" It was well done ; by Our Mother, it was well 
donel" murmured Hualpa. 

" Wait ! " said the Chalcan patronizingly. 
** Wait till they come to the maquahuitl ! '' 

Quite a number of arrows were thus inter- 
changed by the parties without effect, as they 
were always dexterously intercepted. The pas- 
sage was but the preluding skirmish, partici- 
pated in by all but the 'tzin, who, after his first 
shot, stood a little apart from his comrades, and, 
resting his long bow on the ground, watched the 
trial with apparent indifference. Like the Chal- 
can, he seemed to regard it as play ; and the 
populace after a while fell into the same opin- 
ion : there was not enough danger to fully inter- 
est them. So there began to arise murmurs and 
cries, which the Cholulan was the first to observe 
and interpret. Under an impulse which had rela- 
tion, probably, to his first failure, he resolved to 
avail himself of the growing feeling. Throwing 
down his bow, he seized the maquahuitl at his 
back, and, without a word to his friends, started 
impetuously across the arena. The peril was 
great, for every foeman at once turned his 
arrow against him. 

Then the 'tzin stirred himself. "The boy is 
mad, and will die if we do not go with him,** 
he said ; and already his foot was advanced to 
follow, when the young Othmi sprang forward 
from the other side to meet the Cholulan. 

The eagerness lest an incident should be lost 
became intense ; even the king sat up to see the 


duel. The theatre rang with cries of encourage- 
ment, — none, however, so cheery as that of the 
elder Othmi, whose feelings of paternity were, 
for the moment, lost in his passion of warrior. 

" On, boy ! Remember the green hills, and the 
hammock by the stream. Strike hard, strike 
hard ! " 

The combatants were apparently well matched, 
being about equal in height and age ; both bran- 
dished the maquahuitl^ the deadliest weapon 
known to their wars. Wielded by both hands 
and swung high above the head, its blades of glass 
generally clove their way to the life. About mid- 
way the arena the foemen met. At the instant 
of contact the Cholulan brought a downward 
blow, well aimed, at the head of his antagonist ; 
but the lithe Othmi, though at full speed, swerved 
like a bird on the wing. A great shout attested 
the appreciation of the audience. The Cholulan 
wheeled, with his weapon uplifted for another 
blow ; the action called his left arm into play, 
and drew his shield from its guard. The Othmi 
saw the advantage. One step he took nearer, 
and then, with a sweep of his arm and an upward 
stroke, he drove every blade deep into the side 
of his enemy. The lifted weapon dropped in its 
half-finished circle, the shield flew wildly up, and, 
with a groan, the victim fell heavily to the sand, 
struggled once to rise, fell back again, and his 
battles were ended forever. A cry of anguish 
went out from under the royal canopy. 

" Hark I " cried Xoli. " Did you hear the old 


Cholulan ? See ! They are leading him from the 
platform ! " 

Except that cry, however, not a voice was 
heard ; from rising apprehension as to the result 
of the combat, or touched by a passing sympathy 
for the early death, the multitude was perfectly 

"That was a brave blow, Xoli; but let him 
beware now ! " said Hualpa excitedly. 

And in expectation of instant vengeance, all 
eyes watched the Othmi. Around the arena he 
glanced, then back to his friends. Retreat would 
forfeit the honor gained : death was preferable. 
So he knelt upon the breast of his enemy, and, 
setting his shield before him, waited sternly and 
in silence the result. And Iztlir and Tlahua 
launched their arrows at him in quick succession, 
but Guatamozin was as indifferent as ever. 

" What ails the 'tzin ? " said Maxtla to the king. 
"The Othmi is at his mercy." 

The monarch deigned no reply. 

The spirit of the old Othmi rose. On the sand 
behind him, prepared for service, was a dart with 
three points of copper, and a long cord by which 
to recover it when once thrown. Catching the 
weapon up, and shouting, " I am coming, I am 
coming!" he ran to avert or share the danger. 
The space to be crossed was inconsiderable, yet 
such his animation that, as he ran, he poised 
the dart, and exposed his hand above the shield. 
The 'tzin raised his bow, and let the arrow fly. 
It struck right amongst the supple joints of the 


veteran's wrist. The unhappy man stopped be- 
wildered ; over the theatre he looked, then at 
the wound ; in despair he tore the shaft out with 
his teeth, and rushed on till he reached the boy. 

The outburst of acclamation shook the theatre. 

" To have seen such archery, Xoli, were worth 
all the years of a hunter's life ! " said Hualpa. 

The Chalcan smiled like a connoisseur, and 
replied, " It is nothing. Wait ! " 

And now the combat again presented a show 
of equality. The advantage, if there was any, 
was thought to be with the Aztecs, since the loss 
of the Cholulan was not to be weighed against 
the disability of the Othmi. Thus the populace 
were released from apprehension, without any 
abatement of interest; indeed, the excitement 
increased, for there was a promise of change in 
the character of the contest ; from quiet archery 
was growing bloody action. 

The Tlascalans, alive to the necessity of sup- 
porting their friends, advanced to where the 
Cholulan lay, but more cautiously. When they 
were come up, the Othmies both arose, and 
calmly perfected the front. The astonishment at 
this was very great. 

" Brave . fellow ! He is worth ten live Cholu- 
lans!" said Xoli. "But now look, boy! The 
challengers have advanced half way ; the Aztecs 
must meet them." 

The conjecture was speedily verified. Iztlil' 
had, in fact, ill brooked the superior skill, or 
better fortune, of the 'tzin ; the applause of the 


populace had been worse than wounds to his 
jealous heart. Till this time, however, he had 
restrained his passion ; now the foe were ranged 
as if challenging attack : he threw away his use- 
less bow, and laid his hand on his maquahuitl, 

" It is not for an Aztec god that we are fight- 
ing, O comrade ! " he cried to Tlahua. " It is for 
ourselves. Come, let us show yon king a better 

And without waiting, he set on. The Otom- 
pan followed, leaving the 'tzin alone. The call 
had not been to him, and as he was fighting 
for the god, and the Tezcucan for himself, he 
merely placed another arrow on his bow, and ob- 
served the attack. 

Leaving the Otompan to engage the Othmies, 
the fierce Tezcucan assaulted the Tlascalans, an 
encounter in which there was no equality ; but 
the eyes of Tenochtitlan were upon him, and at 
his back was a hated rival. His antagonists each 
sent an arrow to meet him ; but, as he skillfully 
caught them on his shield, they, too, betook 
themselves to the maquahuitl. Right on he kept, 
until his shield struck theirs ; it was gallantly 
done, and won a furious outburst from the people. 
Again Montezuma sat up, momentarily animated. 

"Ah, my lord Cacama!" he said, "if your 
brother's love were but equal to his courage, I 
would give him an army.'* 

"All the gods forfend!" replied the jealous 
prince. "The viper would recover his fangs.** 

The speed with which he went was all that 


saved Iztlil' from the blades of the Tlascalans. 
Striking no blow himself, he strove to make way 
between them, and get behind, so that, facing 
about to repel his returning onset, their backs 
would be to the 'tzin. But they were wary, and 
did not yield. As they pushed against him, one, 
dropping his more cumbrous weapon, struck him 
in the breast with a copper knife. The blow was 
distinctly seen by the spectators. 

Hualpa started from his seat. "He has it; 
they will finish him now ! No, he recovers. Our 
Mother, what a blow ! " 

The Tezcucan disengaged himself, and, mad- 
dened by the blood that began to flow down his 
quilted armor, assaulted furiously. He was 
strong, quick of eye, and skillful ; the blades of 
his weapon gleamed in circles around his head, 
and resounded against the shields. At length a 
desperate blow beat down the guard of one of 
the Tlascalans ; ere it could be recovered, or Iz- 
tlil* avail himself of the advantage, there came a 
sharp whirring through the air, and an arrow 
from the 'tzin pierced to the warrior's heart. 
Up he leaped, dead before he touched the sand. 
Again Iztlil' heard the acclamation of his rival. 
Without a pause, he rushed upon the surviving 
Tlascalan, as if to bear him down by stormy dint. 

Meantime, the combat of Tlahua, the Otompan, 
was not without its difficulties, since it was not 
singly with the young Othmi. 

" Mictlan take the old man ! " cried the lord 
Cuitlahua, bending from his seat. " I thought 


him done for ; but, see ! he defends, the other 

And so it was. The Otompan struck hard, but 
was distracted by the tactics of his foemen : if he 
aimed at the younger, both their shields warded 
the blow ; if he assaulted the elder, he was in 
turn attacked by the younger ; and so, without 
advantage to either, their strife continued until 
the fall of the Tlascalan. Then, inspired by 
despairing valor, the boy threw down his maqua- 
huitl, and endeavored to push aside the Otom- 
pan's shield. Once within its guard, the knife 
would finish the contest. Tlahua retreated ; but 
the foe clung to him, — one wrenching at his 
shield, the other intercepting his blows, and 
both carefully avoiding the deadly archery of the 
*tzin, who, seeing the extremity of the danger, 
started to the rescue. All the people shouted, 
"The *tzin, the 'tzin ! " Xoli burst into ecstasy, 
and clapped his hands. " There he goes ! Now 
look for something ! *' 

The rescuer went as a swift wind ; but the 
clamor had been a warning to the young Othmi. 
By a great effort he tore away the Otompan's 
shield. In vain the latter struggled. There was 
a flash, sharp, vivid, like the sparkle of the sun 
upon restless waters. Then his head drooped 
forward, and he staggered blindly. Once only 
the death-stroke was repeated ; and so still was 
the multitude that the dull sound of the knife 
driving home was heard. The 'tzin was too late. 

The prospect for the Aztecs was now gloomy. 


The Cholulan and Otompan were dead ; the 
Tezcucan, wounded and bleeding, was engaged 
in a doubtful struggle with the Tlascalan ; the 
'tzin was the last hope of his party. Upon him 
devolved the fight with the Othmies. In the 
interest thus excited Iztlil's battle was forgotten. 

Twice had the younger Othmi been victor, and 
still he was scathless. Instead of the maqua- 
huitlt he was now armed with the javelin, which, 
while effective as a dart, was excellent to repel 

From the crowded seats of the theatre not a 
sound was heard. At no time had the excitement 
risen to such a pitch. Breathless and motionless, 
the spectators awaited the advance of the 'tzin. 
He was, as I have said, a general favorite, be- 
loved by priest and citizen, and with the wild 
soldiery an object of rude idolatry. And if under 
the royal canopy there were eyes that looked 
not lovingly upon him, there were lips there mur- 
muring soft words of prayer for his success. 

When within a few steps of the waiting Oth- 
mies, he halted. They glared at him an instant 
in silence ; then the old chief said tauntingly, 
and loud enough to be heard above the noise of 
the conflict at his side, — 

" A woman may wield a bow, and from a dis- 
tance slay a warrior ; but the maquahuitl is heavy 
in the hand of the coward, looking in the face of 
his foeman." 

The Aztec made no answer ; he was familiar 
with the wile. Looking at the speaker as if 


against him he intended his first attack, with 
right hand back he swung the heavy weapon 
above his shoulder till it sung in quickening 
circles ; when its force was fully collected, he 
suddenly hurled it from him. The old Othmi 
crouched low behind his shield : but his was 
not the form in the 'tzin*s eyes ; for right in 
the centre of the young victor's guard the flying 
danger struck. Nor arm nor shield might bar 
its way. The boy was lifted sheer above the 
body of the Otompan, and driven backward as if 
shot from a catapult. 

Guatamozin advanced no farther. A thrust of 
his javelin would have disposed of the old Othmi, 
now unarmed and helpless. The acclamation of 
the audience, in which was blent the shrill voices 
of women, failed to arouse his passion. 

The sturdy chief arose from his crouching ; he 
looked for the boy to whom he had so lately 
spoken of home ; he saw him lying outstretched, 
his face in the sand, and his shield, so often 
bound with wreaths and garlands, twain-broken 
beneath him ; and his will, that in the fight had 
been tougher than the gold of his bracelets, gave 
way ; forgetful of all else, he ran, and, with a 
great cry, threw himself upon the body. 

The Chalcan was as exultant as if the achieve- 
ment had been his own. Even the prouder souls 
under the red canopy yielded their tardy praise ; 
only the king was silent. 

As none now remained of the challengers but 
the Tlascalan occupied with Iztlil', — none whom 


he might in honor engage, — Guatamozin moved 
away from the Othmies ; and as he went, once he 
allowed his glance to wander to the royal plat- 
form, but with thought of love, not wrong. 

The attention of the people was again directed 
to the combat of the Tezcucan. The death of 
his comrades nowise daunted the Tlascalan ; he 
rather struck the harder for revenge ; his shield 
was racked, the feathers in his crest torn away, 
while the blades were red with his blood. Still it 
fared but ill with Iztlir fighting for himself. His 
wound in the breast bled freely, and his equip- 
ments were in no better plight than his antago- 
nist's. The struggle was that of the hewing and 
hacking which, whether giving or taking, soon 
exhausts the strongest frame. At last, faint with 
loss of blood, he went down. The Tlascalan 
attempted to strike a final blow, but darkness 
rushed upon him ; he staggered, the blades sunk 
into the sand, and he rolled beside his enemy. 

With that the combat was done. The challen- 
gers might not behold their " land of bread " 
again ; nevermore for them was hammock by the 
stream or echo of tambour amongst the hills. 

And all the multitude arose and gave way to 
their rejoicing; they embraced each other, and 
shouted and sang ; the pabas waved their ensigns, 
and the soldiers saluted with voice and pealing 
shells ; and up to the sun ascended the name of 
Quetzal' with form and circumstance to soften 
the mood of the most demanding god ; but all the 
time the audience saw only the fortunate hero, 


standing so calmly before them, the dead at his 
feet, and the golden light about him. 

And the king was happy as the rest, and talked 
gayly, caring little for the living or the dead. 
The combat was over, and Quetzal' not come. 
Mualox was a madman, not a prophet ; the Aztecs 
had won, and the god was propitiated : so the 
questioner of the Morning flattered himself ! 

'* If the Othmi cannot fight, he can serve for 
sacrifice. Let him be removed. And the dead — 
But hold ! " he cried, and his cheeks blanched 
with mortal pallor. " Who comes yonder } Look 
to the arena, — nay, to the people ! By my fa- 
ther's ashes, the paba shall perish ! White hairs 
and prophet's gifts shall not save him." 

While the king was speaking, Mualox, the 
keeper of the temple, rushed within the wall of 
shields. His dress was disordered, and he was 
bareheaded and unsandaled. Over his shoulders 
and down his breast flowed his hair and beard, 
tangled and unkempt, wavy as a billow and white 
as the foam. Excitement flashed from every fea- 
ture ; and far as his vision ranged, — in every 
quarter, on every platform, — in the blood of 
others he kindled his own unwonted passion. 

The fortunate hero^ standing so cabniy before them 



jUALOX, after the departure of 
the king and 'tzin, ascended the 
tower of the old Cd, and re- 
mained there all night, stooped 
beside the sacred fire, sorrowing 
and dreaming, hearkening to the voices of 
the city, or watching the mild-eyed stars. 
So the morning found him. He, too, be- 
held the coming of the sun, and trembled 
when the Smoking Hill sent up its cloud. 
Then he heaped fresh fagots on the dying 
fire, and went down to the courtyard. It 
was the hour when in all the other temples wor- 
shipers came to pray. 

He took a lighted lamp from a table in his cell, 
and followed a passage on deeper into the build- 
ing. The way, like that to the golden chamber, 
was intricate and bewildering. Before a door at 


the foot of a flight of steps he stopped. A num- 
ber of earthen jars and ovens stood near ; while 
from the room to which the door gave entrance 
there came a strong, savory perfume, very grate- 
ful to the sense of a hungry man. Here was the 
kitchen of the ancient house. The paba went in. 

This was on a level with the water of the canal 
at the south base ; and when the good man came 
out, and descended another stairway, he was in 
a hall, which, though below the canal, was dusty 
and perfectly dry. Down the hall farther he 
came to a doorway in the floor, or rather an aper- 
ture, which had at one time been covered and 
hidden by a ponderous flagstone yet lying close 
by. A rope ladder was coiled up on the stone. 
Flinging the ladder through the door, he heard it 
rattle on the floor beneath ; then he stooped, and 
called, — 

"Tecetl, Tecetl!" 

No one replied. He repeated the call. 

** Poor child ! She is asleep," he said, in a low 
voice. " I will go down without her." 

Leaving the lamp above, he committed himself 
to the unsteady rope, like one accustomed to it. 
Below all was darkness ; but, pushing boldly on, 
he suddenly flung aside a curtain which had small 
silver bells in the fringing ; and, ushered by the 
tiny ringing, he stepped into a chamber lighted 
and full of beauty, — a grotto carven with in- 
finite labor from the bed-rock of the lake. 

And here, in the day mourned by the paba, 
when the temple was honored, and its god had 


worshipers, and the name of Quetzal* was second 
to no other, not even Huitzil's, must have been 
held the secret conclaves of the priesthood, — so 
great were the dimensions of the chamber, and 
so far was it below the roll of waters. But now it 
might be a place for dwelling, or for thought and 
dreaming or for pleasure, or in which the eaters 
of the African lotus might spend their hours and 
days of semi-consciousness sounding of a life 
earthly yet purely spiritual. There were long 
aisles for walking, and couches for rest; there 
were pictures, flowers, and a fountain ; the walls 
and ceiling glowed with frescoing ; and wherever 
the eye turned it rested upon some cunning de- 
vice intended to instruct, gladden, comfort, and 
content. Lamplight streamed into every corner, 
ill supplying the perfect sunshine, yet serving its 
grand purpose. The effect was more than beau- 
tiful. The world above was counterfeited, so that 
one ignorant of the original and dwelling in the 
counterfeit could have been happy all his life 
long. Scarcely is it too much to say of the mas- 
ter who designed and finished the grotto, that, 
could he have borrowed the materials of nature, 
he had the taste and genius to set a star with the 
variety and harmony that mark the setting of the 
earth's surface, and of themselves prove its Cre- 
ator divine. 

In the enchantment of the place there was a 
peculiarity indicative of a purpose higher than 
mere enjoyment, and that was the total absence 
of humanity in the host of things visible. Painted 


on the ceiling and walls were animals of almost 
every kind common to the clime ; birds of won- 
drous plumage darted hither and thither, twitter- 
ing and singing; there, also, were flowers the 
fairest and most fragrant, and orange and laurel 
shrubs, and pines and cedars and oaks, and other 
trees of the forest, dwarfed, and arranged for con- 
venient carriage to the azoteas ; in the pictures, 
moreover, were the objects most remarkable in 
the face of nature, — rivers, woods, plains, moun- 
tains, oceans, the heavens in storm and calm ; 
but nowhere was the picture of man, woman, or 
child. In the frescoing were houses and temples, 
grouped as in hamlets and cities, or standing 
alone on a river's bank, or in the shadow of great 
trees ; but of their habitants and builders there 
was not a trace. In fine, the knowledge there 
taught was that of a singular book. A mind 
receiving impressions, like a child's, would be 
carried by it far enough in the progressive edu- 
cation of life to form vivid ideas of the world, and 
yet be left in a dream of unintelligence to people 
it with fairies, angels, or gods. Almost every- 
thing had there a representation but humanity, 
the brightest fallen nature. 

Mualox entered as one habituated to the cham- 
ber. The air was soft, balmy, and pleasant, and 
the illumination mellowed, as if the morning 
were shut out by curtains of gossamer tinted 
with roses and gold. Near the centre of the room 
he came to a fountain of water crystal clear and 
in full play, the jet shooting from a sculptured 


Stone up almost to the ceiling. Around it were 
tables, ottomans, couches, and things of vertu, 
such as would have adorned the palace; there, 
also, were vases of flowers, culled and growing, 
and of such color and perfume as would have been 
estimable in Cholula, and musical instruments, 
and pencils and paints. 

It was hardly possible that this conception, so 
like the Restful World of Brahma, should be 
without its angel; for the atmosphere and all 
were for a spirit of earth or heaven softer than 
man's. And by the fountain it was, — a soul 
fresh and pure as the laughing water. 

The girl of whom I speak was asleep. Her 
head lay upon a cushion ; over the face, clear and 
almost white, shone a lambent transparency, 
which might have been the reflection of the 
sparkling water. The garments gathered close 
about her did not conceal the delicacy and child- 
like grace of her form. One foot was exposed, 
and it was bare, small, and nearly lost in the 
tufted mattress of her couch. Under a profusion 
of dark hair, covering the cushion like the floss 
of silk, lay an arm; a hand, dimpled and soft, 
rested lightly on her breast. The slumber was 
very deep, giving the face the expression of 
dreamless repose, with the promise of health and 
happiness upon waking. 

The paba approached her tenderly, and knelt 
down. His face was full of holy affection. He 
bent his cheek close to her parted lips, listening 
to her breathing. He brought the straying locks 


back, and laid them across her neck. Now and 
then a bird came and lighted on the table, and he 
waved his mantle to scare it away. And when 
the voice of the fountain seemed, under an in- 
creased pulsation of the water, to grow louder, he 
looked around, frowning lest it might disturb her. 
She slept on, his love about her like a silent 
prayer that has found its consummation in perfect 

And as he knelt, he became sad and thought- 
ful. The events that were to come, and his faith 
in their coming, were as actual sorrows. His 
reflections were like a plea addressed to his con- 

" God pardon me, if, after all, I should be mis- 
taken ! The wrong would be so very great as to 
bar me from the Sun. Is any vanity like that 
which makes sorrows for our fellows i And such 
is not only the vanity of the warrior, and that 
of the ruler of tribes; sometimes it is of the 
priests who go into the temples thinking of things 
that do not pertain to the gods. What if mine 
were such ? 

" The holy Quetzal' knows that I intended to 
be kind to the child. I thought my knowledge 
greater than that of ordinary mortals ; I thought 
it moved in fields where only the gods walk, sow- 
ing wisdom. The same vanity, taking words, told 
me, ' Look up ! There is no abyss between you 
and the gods ; they cannot make themselves of 
the dust, but you can reach their summit almost 
a god.* And I labored, seeking the principles 

His face was full of holy affection 


that would accomplish my dream, if such it were. - 
Heaven forgive me, but I once thought I had 
found them ! Other men looking out on creation 
could see nothing but Wisdom — Wisdom every- 
where ; but I looked with a stronger vision, and 
wherever there was a trace of infinite Wisdom, 
there was also for me an infinite Will. 

" Here were the principles, but they were not 
enough. Something said to me, * What were the 
Wisdom and Will of the gods without subjects ? * 
It was a great idea: I thought I stood almost 
upon the summit ! 

" And I set about building me a world. I took 
the treasure of Quetzal', and collected these 
marvels, and bought me the labor of art. Wea- 
vers, florists, painters, masons, — all toiled for 
me. Gold, labor, and time are here, — there is 
little beauty without them. Here is my world," 
he said aloud, glancing around the great hall. 

" I had my world ; next I wanted a subject for 
my will. But where to go ? Not among men, 

— alas, they are their own slaves ! One day I 
stood in the tianguez where a woman was being 
sold. A baby in her arms smiled, it might have 
been at the sunshine, it might have been at me. 
The mother said, *Buy.' A light flashed upon me 

— I bought you, my poor child. Men say of the 
bud. It will be a rose, and of the plant, It will be 
a tree ; you were so young then that I said, * It 
will be a mind.* And into my world I brought 
you, thinking, as I had made it, so I would make 
a subject. This, I told you, was your birthplace ; 


and here passed your infancy and childhood; here 
you have dwelt. Your cheeks are pale, my little 
one, but full and fresh ; your breath is sweet as 
the air above a garden ; and you have grown in 
beauty, knowing nothing living but the birds and 
me. My will has a subject, O Tecetl, and my 
heart a child. And judge me, holy Quetzal*, if I 
have not tried to make her happy ! I have given 
her knowledge of everything but humanity, and 
ignorance of that is happiness. My world has 
thus far been a heaven to her ; her dreams have 
been of it ; I am its god ! '* 

And yet unwilling to disturb her slumber, 
Mualox arose, and walked away. 



I Y and by he returned, and, stand- 
ing by the couch, passed his 
hand several times above her 
face. Silent as the movements 
were, she awoke, and threw her 
arms around his necL 
" You have been gone a long while," she said 
in a childish voice. ** I waited for you ; but the 
lamps burned down low, and the shadows, from 
their hiding among the bushes, came creeping in 
upon the fountain, and I slept." 

" I saw you," he answered, playing with her 
hair. " I saw you ; I always see you." 


" I tried to paint the fountain," she went on ; 
"but when I watched the water to catch its 
colors, I thought its singing changed to voices, 
and, listening to them, they stole my thoughts 
away. Then I tried to blend my voice with them, 
and sing as they sung ; but whenever mine sank 
low enough, it seemed sad, while they went on 
gayer and more ringing than ever. I can paint 
the flowers, but not the water ; I can sing with 
the birds, but not with the fountain. But you 
promised to call me, — that you would always 
call me." 

"I knew you were asleep." 

" But you had only to think to waken me." 

He smiled at this acknowledgment of the 
power of his will. Just then a bell sounded 
faintly through the chamber ; hastening away, 
he shortly returned with breakfast on a great 
shell waiter ; there were maize bread and honey, 
quails and chocolate, figs and oranges. Placing 
them on a table, he rolled up an ottoman for the 
girl; and, though she talked much and lightly, 
the meal was soon over. Then he composed him- 
self upon the couch, and in the quiet, unbroken 
save by Tecetl, forgot the night and its incidents. 

His rest was calm ; when he awoke, she was 
sitting by the basin of the fountain talking to her 
birds gleefully as a child. She had given them 
names, words more of sound pleasant to the ear 
than of signification ; so she understood the birds, 
whose varied cries were to her a language. And 
they were fearless and tame, perching on her 


hand, and courting her caresses ; while she was 
as artless, with a knowledge as innocent, and a 
nature as happy. If Quetzal* was the paba's idol 
in religion, she was his idol in affection. 

He watched her a while, then suddenly sat up ; 
though he said not a word, she flung her birds off, 
and came to him smiling. 

" You called me, father." 

He laid his hand upon her shoulder, all over- 
flowed with the dark hair, and said in a low voice, 
" The time approaches when Quetzal* is to come 
from the home of the gods ; it may be he is near. 
I will send you over the sea and the land to find 
him ; you shall have wings to carry you into the 
air ; and you shall fly swifter than the birds you 
have been talking to." 

Her smile deepened. 

" Have you not told me that Quetzal' is good, 
and that his voice is like the fountain's, and that 
when he speaks it is like singing ? I am ready.*' 

He kissed her, and nearer the basin rolled the 
couch, upon which she sat reclined against a heap 
of cushions, her hands clasped over her breast. 

** Do not let me be long gone ! " she said. 
"The lamps will burn low again, and I do not 
like to have the shadows come and fold up my 

The paba took a pearl from the folds of his 
gown, and laid it before her ; then he sat down, 
and fixed his eyes upon her face ; she looked at 
the jewel, and composed herself as for sleep. 
Her hands settled upon her bosom, her features 


grew impassive, the lips slowly parted ; gradually 
her eyelids drooped, and the life running in the 
veins of her cheeks and forehead went back into 
her heart. Out of the pearl seemed to issue a 
spell that stole upon her spirits gently as an 
atomy settles through the still air. Finally, there 
was a sigh, a sob, and over the soul of the maiden 
the will of Mualox became absolute. He took her 
hand in his. 

" Wings swifter than the winds are yours, Te- 
cetl. Go," he said, "search for the god; search 
the land." 

She moved not, and scarcely breathed. 

" Speak," he continued ; "let me know that I 
am obeyed." 

The will was absolute ; she spoke, and though 
at first the words came slowly, yet he listened 
like a prophet waiting for revelation. She spoke 
of the land, of its rivers, forests, and mountains ; 
she spoke of the cities, of their streets and build- 
ings, and of their people, for whom she knew 
no name. She spoke of events transpiring in dis- 
tant provinces, as well as in Tenochtitlan. She 
went into the temples, markets, and palaces. 
Wherever men traveled, thither her spirit flew. 
When the flight was done, and her broken de- 
scription ceased, the holy man sighed. 

*' Not yet, Tecetl ; he is not found. The god 
is not on the land. Search the air." 

And still the will was absolute, though the 
theme of the seer changed ; it was not of the land 
now, but of the higher realm ; she spoke of the 


sunshine and the cloud, of the wind rushing and 
chill, of the earth far down, and grown so small 
that the mountains leveled with the plains. 

" Not yet, not yet,'* he cried ; "the god is not 
in the air. Go search the sea ! " 

In the hollow of his hand he lifted water, and 
sprinkled her face ; and when he resumed his seat 
she spoke, not slowly as before, but fast and free. 

" The land is passed ; behind me are the cities 
and lakes, and the great houses and blue waters, 
such as I have seen in my pictures. I am hover- 
ing now, father, where there is nothing before me 
but waves and distance. White birds go skim- 
ming about careless of the foam ; the winds pour 
upon me steadily ; and in my ear is a sound as of a 
great voice. I listen, and it is the sea; or, father, 
it may be the voice of the god whom you seek." 

She was silent, as if waiting for an answer. 

"The water, is it ? Well, well, — whither shall 
I go now.?" 

"Follow the shore; it may lead where only 
gods have been." 

"Still the waves and the distance, and the 
land, where it goes down into the sea sprinkled 
with shells. Still the deep voice in my ear, and 
the wind about me. I hurry on, but it is all 
alike, — all water and sound. No! Out of the 
waves rises a new land, the sea, a girdle of 
billows, encircling it everywhere ; yet there are 
blue clouds ascending from the fields, and I see 
palm-trees and temples. May not thy god dwell 
here ? " 


" No. You see but an island. On ! " 

" Well, well. Behind me fades the island ; be- 
fore me is nothing but sheen and waves and dis- 
tance again ; far around runs the line separating 
the sea and sky. Waste, all waste ; the sea all 
green, the sky all blue ; no life ; no god. But 
stay ! " 

"Something moves on the waste: speak, 

But for a time she was still. 

" Speak ! " he said, earnestly. " Speak, Tecetl ! " 

"They are far off, — far off," she replied 
slowly and in a doubting way. " They move and 
live, but I cannot tell whether they come or go, 
or what they are. Their course is unsteady, and, 
like the flight of birds, now upon the sea, then in 
air, a moment seeming of the waves, then of the 
sky. They look like white clouds." 

"You are fleeter than birds or clouds, — 
nearer! " he said sternly, the fire in his eyes all 

" I go, — I approach them, — I now see them 
coming. O father, father I I know not what your 
god is like, nor what shape he takes, nor in what 
manner he travels ; but surely these are his I 
There are many of them, and as they sweep along 
they are a sight to be looked at with trembling." 

" What are they, Tecetl ? " 

" How can I answer ? They are not of the 
things I have seen in my pictures, nor heard in 
my songs. The face of the sea is whitened by 
them ; the largest leads the way, looking like a 


shell, — of them I have heard you speak as 
coming from the sea, — a great shell streaked 
with light and shade, and hollow, so that the 
sides rise above the reach of* the waves, — 
wings " — 

" Nay, what would a god of the air with wings 
to journey upon the sea ! " 

" Above it are clouds, — clouds white as the 
foam, and such as a god might choose to waft 
him on his way. I can see them sway and toss, 
but as the shell rushes into the hollow places, 
they lift it up, and drive it on." 

A brighter light flashed from his eyes. " It is 
the canoe, the canoe ! " he exclaimed. " The 
canoe from Tlapallan ! " 

"The canoe, father ! The waves rush joyously 
around it; they lift themselves in its path, and 
roll on to meet it ; then, as if they knew it to be 
a god's, in peace make way for its coming. Upon 
the temples in my pictures I havevSeen signs 
floating in the air *' — 

" You mean banners, — banners, child,'* he said 

" I remember now. Above the foremost canoe, 
above its clouds, there is a banner, and it is 
black*' — 

"Tis Quetzal's! 'Tis Quetzal's!" he mut- 

" It . is black, with golden embroidery, and 
something picture-written on it, but what I can- 
not tell." 

" Look in the canoe." 


"I see — O, I know not what to call them/' 

" Of what shape are they, child ? " 

"Yours, father." 

" Go on : they are gods ! " he said, and still the 
naming of men was unheard in the great cham- 

"There are many of them," she continued , 
** their garments flash and gleam ; around one 
like themselves they are met; to me he seems 
the superior god ; he is speaking, they are lis- 
tening. He is taller than you, father, and has a 
fair face, and hair and beard like the hue of his 
banner. His garments are the brightest of all." 

" You have described a god ; it is Quetzal', the 
holy, beautiful Quetzal' ! " he said, with rising 
voice. " Look if his course be toward the land." 

"Every canoe moves toward the shore." 

"Enough!" he cried. "The writing on the 
wall is the god's ! " And, rising, he awoke the 

girl. # 

As Teqetl awake had no recollection of her 
journey, or of what she had seen in its course, she 
wondered at his trouble and excitement, and 
spoke to him, without answer. 

" Father, what has Tecetl done that you should 
be so troubled .^ " 

He put aside her arms, and in silence turned 
slowly from the pleasant place, and retraced his 
steps back through the halls of the C(i to the 
courtyard and azoteas. 

The weight of the secret did not oppress him ; 
it rested upon him lightly as the surplice upon 


his shoulders ; for the humble servant of his god 
was lifted above his poverty and trembling, and, 
vivified by the consciousness of inspiration, felt 
more than a warrior's strength. But what should 
he do ? Where proclaim the revelation ? Upon 
the temple? 

" The streets are deserted ; the people are in 
the theatre ; the king is there with all Anahuac," 
he muttered. " The coming of Quetzal' concerns 
the Empire, and it shall hear the announcement : 
so not on the temple, but to the tianguez. The 
god speaks to me ! To the tianguez ! " 

In the chapel he exchanged his white surplice 
for the regalia of sacrifice. Never before, to his 
fancy, wore the idol such seeming of life. Satis- 
faction played grimly about its mouth ; upon its 
brow, like a coronet, sat the infinite Will From 
the chapel he descended to the street that led to 
the great square. Insensibly, as he hurried on, 
his steps quickened ; and, bareheaded and unsan- 
daled, his white beard and hair loose and flowing, 
and his face beaming with excitement, he looked 
the very embodiment of direful prophecy. On 
the streets he met only slaves. At the theatre 
the entrance was blocked by people ; soldiery 
guarded the arena : but guard and people shrunk 
at his approach ; and thus, without word or cry, 
he rushed within the wall of shields, where were 
none but the combatants, living and dead. 

Midway the arena he halted, his face to the 
king. Around ran his wondrous glance, and, re- 
gardless of the royalty present, the people shouted. 


" The paba, the paba ! " and theu* many voices 
shook the theatre. Flinging the white locks back 
on his shoulders, he tossed his arms aloft ; and 
the tumult rose into the welkin, and a calm set- 
tled over the multitude. Montezuma, with the 
malediction warm on his lips, bent from his couch 
to hear his words. 

" Woe is Tenochtitlan, the beautiful ! " he 
cried, in the unmeasured accents of grief. " Woe 
to homes, and people, and armies, and king! 
Why this gathering of dwellers on the hills and 
in the valleys ? Why the combat of warriors ? 
Quetzal* is at hand. He comes for vengeance. 
Woe is Tenochtitlan, the beautiful ! . . . This, O 
king, is the day of the fulfillment of prophecy. 
From out the sea, wafted by clouds, even now 
the canoes of the god are coming. His power 
whitens the waves, and the garments of his war- 
riors gleam with the light of the sky. Woe is 
Tenochtitlan ! This day is the last of her per- 
fect glory ; to-morrow Quetzal' will glisten on the 
seashore, and her Empire vanish forever. . . . 
I EOPLE, say farewell to peace ! Keepers 
of the temples, holy men, go feed the fires, 
and say the prayer, and sacrifice the victim ! 
And thou, O king! summon thy strong men, 
leaders in battle, and be thy banners counted, and 
thy nations marshaled. In \^in ! Woe is Tenoch- 
titlan ! Sitting in the lake, she shines lustrously 
as a star ; and though in a valley of gardens, she is 
like a great tree shadowing in a desert. But the 
ravager comes, and the tree shall be felled, and the 


Star go out darkling forever. The fires shall fade, 
the bones of the dead kings be scattered, altars 
and gods overthrown, and every temple leveled 
with the streets. Woe is Tenochtitlan ! Ended, 
— ended forever is the march of Azatlan, the 

His arms fell down, and, without further word, 
his head bowed upon his breast, the prophet de- 
parted. The spell he left behind him remained 
unbroken. As they recovered from the effects 
of his bodement, the people left the theatre, their 
minds full of indefinite dread. If perchance they 
spoke of the scene as they went, it was in whis- 
pers, and rather to sound the depths of each 
other's alarm. And for the rest of the day they 
remained in their houses, brooding alone, or col- 
. lected in groups, talking in low voices, wondering 
about the prescience of the paba, and looking 
each moment for the development of something 
more terrible. 

The king watched the holy man until he disap- 
peared in the crowded passage ; then a deadly 
paleness overspread his face, and he sunk almost 
to the platform. The nobles rushed around, and 
bore him to his palanquin, their brave souls aston- 
ished that the warrior and priest and mighty mon- 
arch could be so overcome. They carried him 
to his palace, and left him to a solitude full of 
unkingly superstitions. 

Guatamozin, serene amid the confusion, called 
the tatnaneSy and ordered the old Othmi and the 
dead removed. The Tezcucan still breathed. 


"The reviler of the gods shall be cared for," 
he said to himself. " If he lives, their justice will 
convict him." 

Before the setting of the sun, the structure in 
the tianguez was taken down and restored to the 
temples, never again to be used. Yet the market- 
place remained deserted and vacant ; the whole 
city seemed plague-smitten. 

And the common terror was not without cause, 
any more than Mualox was without inspiration. 
That night the ships of Cortes, eleven in number, 
and freighted with the materials of conquest 
from the east of Yucatan, came sweeping down 
the bay of Campeachy. Next morning they sailed 
up the Rio de Tabasco, beautiful with its pure 
water and its banks fringed with mangroves. 
Tecetl had described the fleet, the sails of which 
from afar looked like clouds, while they did, in- 
deed, whiten the sea. 

Next evening a courier sped hotly over the 
causeway and up the street, stopping at the gate 
of the royal palace. He was taken before the 
king ; and, shortly after, it went flying over the 
city how Quetzal' had arrived, in canoes larger 
than temples, wafted by clouds, and full of thun- 
der and lightning. Then sank the monarch's 
heart ; and, though the Spaniard knew it not, his 
marvelous conquest was half completed before 
his iron shoe smote the shore at San Juan de 

^ Cortes's squadron reached the mouth of the river Tabasco 
on the 1 2th of March, 15 19. 



ARCH passed, and April came, 
and still the strangers, in their 
great canoes, lingered on the 
coast. Montezuma observed 
them with becoming prudence ; 
through his lookouts, he was 
informed of their progress from 
the time they left the Rio de 

The constant anxiety to 
which he was subjected affected his temper ; and, 
though roused from the torpor into which he had 
been plunged by the visit to the golden chamber, 
and the subsequent prophecy of Mualox, his 
melancholy was a thing of common observation. 
He renounced his ordinary amusements, even 
totoloqucy and went no more to the hunting- 
grounds on the shore of the lake ; in preference 
he took long walks in the gardens and reclined 
in the audience-chamber of his palace ; yet more 


remarkable, conversation with his councilors and 
nobles delighted him more than the dances of his 
women or the songs of his minstrels. In truth, 
the monarch was himself a victim of the delu- 
sions he had perfected for his people. Polytheism 
had come to him with the Empire ; but he had 
enlarged upon it, and covered it with dogmas ; 
and so earnestly, through a long and glorious 
reign, had he preached them, that, at last, he had 
become his own most zealous convert. In all his 
dominions, there was not one whom faith more 
inclined to absolute fear of Quetzal' than himself. 

One evening he passed from his bath to the 
dining-hall for the last meal of the day. Invigo- 
rated, and, as was his custom, attired for the 
fourth time since morning in fresh garments, he 
walked briskly, and even droned a song. 

No monarch in Europe fared more sumptuously 
than Montezuma. The room devoted to the 
purpose was spacious, and, on this occasion, 
brilliantly lighted. The floor was spread with 
figured matting, and the walls hung with beau- 
tiful tapestry ; and in the centre of the apartment 
a luxurious couch had been rolled for him, it 
being his habit to eat reclining ; while, to hide 
him from the curious, a screen had been con- 
trived, and set up between the couch and principal 
door. The viands set down by his steward as 
the substantials of the first course were arranged 
upon the floor before the couch, and kept warm 
and smoking by chafing-dishes. The table, if 
such it may be called, was supplied by contribu- 


tions from the provinces, and furnished, in fact, 
no contemptible proof of his authority, and the 
perfection with which it was exercised. The ware 
was of the finest Cholulan manufacture, and, like 
his clothes, never used by him but the once, a 
royal custom requiring him to present it to his 

When he entered the room, the evening I have 
mentioned, there were present only his steward, 
four or five aged councilors, whom he was accus- 
tomed tQ address as " uncles," and a couple of 
women, who occupied themselves in preparing 
certain wafers and confections which he particu- 
larly affected. He stretched himself comfortably 
upon the couch, much, I presume, after the style 
of the Romans, and at once began the meal. 
The ancients moved back several steps, and a 
score of boys, noble, yet clad in the inevitable 
nequen, responding to a bell, came in and posted 
themselves to answer his requests. 

Sometimes, by invitation, the councilors were 
permitted to share the feast ; oftener, however, 
the only object of their presence was to afford 
him the gratification of remark. The conversa- 
tion was usually irregular, and hushed and re- 
newed as he prompted, and not unfrequently 
extended to the gravest political and religious 
subjects. On the evening in question he spoke 
to them kindly. 

** I feel better this evening, uncles. My good 
star is rising above the mists that have clouded 

1 Prescott, Ccnq. of Mexico, 


it. We ought not to complain of what we cannot 
help ; still, I have thought that when the gods 
retained the power to afflict us with sorrows, 
they should have given us some power to correct 

One of the old men answered reverentially, 
" A king should be too great for sorrows ; he 
should wear his crown against them as we wear 
our mantles against the cold winds." 

"A good idaa," said the monarch, smiling; 
** but you forget that the crown, instead of pro- 
tecting, is itself the trouble. Come nearer, uncles ; 
there is a matter more serious about which I 
would hear your minds." 

They obeyed him, and he went on. 

" The last courier brought me word that the 
strangers were yet on the coast, hovering about 
the islands. Tell me, who say you they are, and 
whence do they come ? " 

" How may we know more than our wise 
master ? " said one of them. 

" And our thoughts, — do we not borrow them 
from you, O king ? " added another. 

"What ! Call you those answers ? Nay, uncles, 
my fools can better serve me ; if they cannot 
instruct, they can at least amuse." 

The king spoke' bitterly, and looking at one, 
probably the oldest of them all, said, — 

" Uncle, you are the poorest courtier, but you 
are discreet and honest. I want opinions that 
have in them more wisdom than flattery. Speak 
to me truly : who are these strangers ? " 


" For your sake, O my good king, I wish I were 
wise ; for the trouble they have given my poor 
understanding, is indeed very great. I believe 
them to be gods, landed from the Sun." And the 
old man went on to fortify his belief with argu- 
ments. In the excited state of his fancy, it was 
easy for him to convert the cannon of the Span- 
iards into engines of thunder and lightning, and 
transform their horses into creatures of Mictlan 
mightier than men. Right summarily he also 
concluded, that none but gods could traverse the 
dominions of Haloc,^ subjecting the variant winds 
to their will. Finally, to prove the strangers 
irresistible, he referred to the battle of Tabasco, 
then lately fought between Cortes and the In- 

^ Montezuma heard him in silence, and replied, 
" Not badly given, uncle ; your friends may pro- 
fit by your example ; but you have not talked 
as a warrior. You have forgotten that we, too, 
have beaten the lazy Tabascans. That reference 
proves as much for my caciques as for your gods." 

He waved his hand, and the first course was 
removed. The second consisted for the most 
part of delicacies in the preparation of which his 
artistes delighted ; at this time appeared the 
choclatl, a rich, frothy beverage served in xicarasy 
or small golden goblets. Girls, selected for their 
rank and beauty, succeeded the boys. Flocking 
around him with light and echoless feet, very 
graceful, very happy, theirs was indeed the service 

^ God of the' sea. 


that awaits the faithful in Mahomet's Paradise. 
To each of his ancients he passed a goblet of 
choclatl^ then continued his eating and talking. 

" Yes. Be they gods or men, I would give a 
province to know their intention; that, uncles, 
would enable me to determine my policy, — 
whether to give them war or peace. As yet, they 
have asked nothing but the privilege of trading 
with us ; and judging them by our nations, I want 
not better warrant of friendship. As you know, 
strangers have twice before been upon our coast 
in such canoes, and with such arms ; ^ and in 
both instances they sought gold, and getting it 
they departed. Will these go like them } " 

" Has my master forgotten the words of Mua- 

*' To Mictlan with the paba ! " said the king, 
violently. " He has filled my .cities and people 
with trouble." 

" Yet he is a prophet," retorted the old coun- 
cilor boldly. " How knew he of the coming of 
the strangers before it was known in the palace } " 

The flush of the king's face faded. 

*' It is a mystery, uncle, — a mystery too deep 
for me. All the day and night before he was in 
his C6 ; he went not into the city even." 

" If the wise master will listen to the words of 
his slave, he will not again curse the paba, but 
make him a friend." 

The monarch's lip curled derisively. 

1 The allusion was doubtless to the expeditions of Hernandez 
de Cordova, in 1517, and Juan de Grijalva, in 1518. 


" My palace is now a house of prayer and sober 
life ; he would turn it into a place of revelry." 

All the ancients but the one laughed at the 
irony ; that one repeated his words. 

" A friend ; but how ? " asked Montezuma. 

" Call him from the CO to the palace ; let him 
stand here with us ; in the councils give him a 
voice. He can read the future ; make of him an 
oracle. O king, who like him can stand between 
you and Quetzal' ? " 

For a while Montezuma toyed idly with the 
xicara. He also believed in the prophetic gifts 
of Mualox, and it was not the first time he had 
pondered the question of how the holy man had 
learned the coming of the strangers ; to satisfy 
himself as to his means of information, he had 
even instituted inquiries outside the palace. And 
yet it was but one of several mysteries ; behind 
it, if not superior, were the golden chamber, its 
wealth, and the writing on the walls. They were 
not to be attributed to the paba : works so won- 
drous could not have been done in one lifetime. 
They were the handiwork of a god, who had 
chosen Mualox for his servant and prophet ; such 
was the judgment of the king. 

Nor was that all. The monarch had come to 
believe that the strangers on the coast were Que- 
tzal' and his followers, whom it were vain to resist, 
if their object was vengeance. But the human 
heart is seldom without its suggestion of hope ; 
and he thought, though resistance was impossi- 
ble, might he not propitiate.^ This policy had 


occupied his thoughts, and most likely without 
result, for the words of the councilor seemed wel- 
come. Indeed, he could scarcely fail to recognize 
the bold idea they conveyed, — nothing less, in 
fact, than meeting the god with his own prophet. 

"Very well," he said in his heart. "I will use 
the paba. He shall come and stand between me 
and the woe." 

Then he arose, took a string of pearls from his 
neck, and with his own hand placed it around 
that of the ancient. 

" Your place is with me, uncle. I will have a 
chamber fitted for you here in the palace. Go no 
more away. Ho, steward ! The supper is done ; 
let the pipes be brought, and give me music and 
dance. Bid the minstrels come. A song of the 
olden time may make me strong again." 




^^RACES of the supper speedily 
disappeared. The screen was 
rolled away, and pipes placed in 
the monarch's hand for distri- 
bution amongst his familiars. 
Blue vapor began to ascend to 
the carved rafters, when the 
tapestry on both sides of the room was flung 
aside, and the sound of cornets and flutes poured 


in from an adjoining apartment; and, as if an- 
swering the summons of the music, a company 
of dancing-girls entered, and filled the space in 
front of the monarch ; half nude were they, and 
flashing with ornaments, and aerial with gauze and 
flying ribbons ; silver bells tinkled with each step, 
and on their heads were wreaths, and in their 
* hands garlands of flowers. Voluptuous children 
were they of the voluptuous valley. 

Saluting the monarch, they glided away, and 
commenced a dance. With dreamy, half-shut 
eyes, through the scented cloud momently deep- 
ening around him, he watched them ; and in the 
sensuous, animated scene was disclosed one of 
the enchantments that had weaned him from the 
martial love of his youth. 

Every movement of the figure had been care- 
fully studied, and a kind of aesthetic philosophy 
was blent with its perfect time and elegance of 
motion. Slow and stately at first, it gradually 
quickened ; then, as if to excite the blood and 
fancy, it became more mazy and voluptuous ; and 
finally, as that is the sweetest song that ends 
with a long decadence, it was so concluded as 
to soothe the transports itself had awakened. 
Sweeping along, it reached a point, a very climax 
of abandon and beauty, in which the dancers ap- 
peared to forget the music and the method of the 
figure ; then the eyes of the king shone brightly, 
and the pipe lingered oh his lips forgotten ; and 
then the musicians began, one by one, to with- 
draw from the harmony, and the dancers to van- 


ish singly from the room, until, at last, there 
was but one flute to be heard, while but one girl 
remained. Finally, she also disappeared, and all 
grew still again! 

And the king sat silent and listless, surrendered 
to the enjoyment which was the object of the 
diversion ; yet he heard the music ; yet he saw 
the lithe and palpitating forms of the dancers in 
posture and motion ; yet he felt the sweet influ- 
ence of their youth and grace and beauty, not 
as a passion, but rather a spell full of the sugges- 
tions of passion, when a number of men came 
noiselessly in, and, kneeling, saluted him. Their 
costume was that of priests, and each of them 
carried an instrument of music fashioned some- 
what like a Hebrew lyre. 

" Ah, my minstrels, my minstrels ! " he said, 
his face flushing with pleasure. "Welcome in 
the streets, welcome in the camp, welcome in the 
palace, also ! What have you to-night ? " 

"When last we were admitted to your pre- 
sence, O king, you bade us compose hymns to the 
god Quetzal' " — 

"Yes ; I remember." 

" We pray you not to think ill of your slaves if 
we say that the verses which come unbidden are 
the best ; no song of the bird's so beautiful as 
the one it sings when its heart is full." 

The monarch sat up. 

" Nay, I did not command. I know something 
of the spirit of poetry. It is not a thing to be 
driven by the will, like a canoe by a strong arm ; 


neither is it a slave, to come or go at a signal. I 
bid my warriors march ; I order the sacrifice ; but 
the lays of my minstrels have ever been of their 
free will. Leave me now. To you are my gar- 
dens and palaces. I warrant the verses you have 
are good ; but go ask your hearts for better." 

They retired with their faces toward him until 
hidden behind the tapestry. 

"I love a song, uncles/' continued the king; 
" I love a hymn to the gods, and a story of battle 
chanted in a deep voice. In the halls of the Sun 
every soul is a minstrel, and every tale a song. 
But let them go ; it is well enough. I promised 
Itzlir, the Tezcucan, to give him audience to-night. 
He comes to the palace but seldom, and he has 
not asked a favor since I settled his quarrel with 
the lord Cacama. Send one to see if he is now 
at the door." 

Thereupon he fell to reflecting and smoking ; 
and when next he spoke, it was from the midst of 
an aromatic cloud. 

"I loved the wise 'Hualpilli; for his sake, I 
would have his children happy. He was a lover 
of peace, and gave more to policy than to war. 
It were grievous to let his city be disturbed by 
feuds and fighting men ; therefore I gave it to the 
eldest son. His claim was best ; and, besides, he 
has the friendly heart to serve me. Still — still, 
I wish there had been two Tezcucos." 

"There was but one voice about the judgment 
in Tezcuco, O king ; the citizens all said it was 


" And they would have said the same if I had 
given them IztliF. I know the knaves, uncle. It 
was not their applause I cared for ; but, you see, 
in gaining a servant, I lost one. Iztlil' is a warrior. 
Had he the will, he could serve me in the field as 
well as his brother in the council. I must attach 
him to me. A strong arm is pleasant to lean on ; 
it is better than a staff." 

Addressing himself to the pipe again, he sat 
smoking, and moodily observing the vapor vanish 
above him. There was silence until Iztlil' was 
ushered in. 

The cacique was still suffering from his wounds. 
His step was feeble, so that his obeisance • was 
stopped by the monarch himself. 

" Let the salutation go, my lord IztliF. Your 
courage has cost you much. I remember you are 
the son of my old friend, and bid you welcome." 

"The Tlascalans are good warriors," said the 
Tezcucan coldly. 

"And for that reason better victims," added 
the king quickly. "By the Sun, I know not what 
we would do without them. Their hills supply 
our temples." 

" And I, good king — I am but a warrior. My 
heart is not softened by things pertaining to re- 
ligion. Enough for me to worship the gods." 

"Then you are not a student ? " 

" I never studied in the academies." 

" I understand," said the king, with a low laugh. 
"You cannot name as many stars as enemies 
whom you have slain. No matter. I have places 


for such scholars. Have you commanded an 
army ? " 

" It pleased you to give me that confidence. I 
led my companies within the Tlascalan wall, and 
came back with captives." 

" I recollect now. But as most good warriors 
are modest, my son, I will not tell you what the 
chiefs said of your conduct ; you would blush *' — 

Iztlir started. 

" Content you, content you ; your blush would 
not be for shame." 

There was a pause, which the king gave to his 
pipe. Suddenly he said, "There have been 
tongues busy with your fame, my son. I have 
heard you were greatly dissatisfied because I gave 
your father's city to your elder brother. But I 
consider that men are never without detractors, 
and I cannot forget that you have periled your 
life for the gods. Actions I accept as the proofs 
of will. If the favor that brought you here be 
reasonable, it is yours for the asking. I have the 
wish to serve you.** 

" I am not surprised that I have enemies," said 
Iztlil' calmly. "I will abuse no one on that 
account ; for I am an enemy, and can forgive 
in others what I deem virtue in myself. But it 
moves me greatly, O king, that my enemies 
should steal into your palace, and, in my absence, 
wrong me in your opinion. But pardon me; I 
did not come to defend myself " — 

" You have taken my words in an evil sense," 
interposed the king, with an impatient gesture. 


" Or to conceal the truth," the Tezcucan con- 
tinued. " There is kingly blood in me, and I dare 
speak as my father's son. So if they said merely 
that I was dissatisfied with your judgment, they 
said truly." 

Montezuma frowned. 

"I intend my words to be respectful, most 
mighty king" A common wisdon teaches us to 
respect the brave man and dread the coward. 
And there is not in your garden a flower as 
beautiful, nor in your power a privilege as pre- 
cious, as free speech ; and it would sound ill of 
one so great and secure as my father's friend if 
he permitted in the streets and in the farmer's 
hut what he forbade in his palace. I spoke of 
dissatisfaction ; but think not it was because you 
gave Tezcuco to my brother, and to me the bare 
hills that have scarcely herbage enough for a wolf- 
covert. I am less a prince than a warrior ; all 
places are alike to me ; the earth affords me royal 
slumber, while no jeweled canopy is equal to the 
starred heavens ; and as there is a weakness in 
pleasant memories, I have none. To such as I 
am, O king, what matters a barren hill or a proud 
palace } I murmured, nay, I did more, because, 
in judging my quarrel, you overthrew the inde- 
pendence of my country. When my father visited 
you from across the lake, he was not accustomed 
to stand before you, or hide his kingly robes 
beneath a slave's garb." 

Montezuma half started from his seat. " Holy 
gods ! Is rebellion so bold .?" 


"I meant no disrespect, great king. I only 
sought to justify myself, and in your royal pre- 
sence say what I have thought while fighting 
under your banner. But, without more abuse of 
your patience, I will to my purpose, especially as 
I came for peace and friendship." 

"The son of my friend forgets that I have 
ways to make peace without treating for it," said 
the king. 

The Tezcucan smothered an angry reply. 

" By service done I have shown a disposition 
to serve you, O king. Very soon every warrior 
will be needed. A throne may be laid amid hymns 
and priestly prayers, yet have no strength ; to 
endure, it must rest upon the allegiance of love. 
Though I have spoken unpleasant words, I came 
to ask that, by a simple boon, you give me cause 
to love. I have reflected that I, too, am of royal 
blood, and, as the son of a king, may lead your 
armies, and look for alliance in your house. By 
marriage, O king, I desire, come good or evil, to 
link my fortune to yours." 

Montezuma's countenance was stolid; no eye 
could have detected upon it so much as surprise. 
He quietly asked, "Which of my daughters has 
found favor in your eyes ? " 

" They are all beautiful, but only one of them 
is fitted for a warrior's wife." 


Iztlil' bowed. 

"She is dear to me," said the king softly, 
" dearer than a city ; she is holy as a temple, and 


lovelier than the morning ; her voice is sweet as 
the summer wind, and her presence as the 
summer itself. . Have you spoken to her of this 

" I love her, so that her love is nothing to me. 
Her feelings are her own, but she is yours ; and 
you are more powerful to give than she to with- 

"Well, well," said the monarch, after a little 
thought ; " in my realm there are none of better 
quality than the children of 'Hualpilli, — none 
from whom such demand is as proper. Yet it is 
worthy deliberation. It is true, I have the power 
to bestow, but there are others who have the right 
to be consulted. I study the happiness of my 
people, and it were unnatural if I cared less for 
that of my children. So leave me now, but take 
with you, brave prince, the assurance that I am 
friendly to your suit. The gods go with you ! " 

And Iztlir, after a low obeisance, withdrew; 
and then the overture was fully discussed. Mon- 
tezuma spoke freely, welcoming the opportunity 
of securing the bold, free-spoken cacique, and 
seeing in the demand only a question of policy. 
As inight be expected, the ancients made no op- 
position ; they could see no danger in the alliance, 
and had no care for the parties. It was policy. 



HE palace of Montezuma was re- 
garded as of very great sanctity, so 
that his household, its economy, and 
the exact relation its members bore 
to each other were mysteries to the public. 
From the best information, however, it would 
seem that he had two lawful and acknowledged 
wives, the queens Tecalco and Acatlan,^ who, 

* These are the proper names of the queens. MSS. of MuRoz. 
Also, note to Prescott, Conq. of Mexico, vol. ii. p. 351. 


with their families, occupied spacious apartments 
secure from intrusion. They were good-looking, 
middle-aged women, whom the monarch honored 
with the highest respect and confidence. By the 
first one, he had a son and a daughter; by the 
second, two daughters. 

" Help me, Acatlan ! I appeal to your friend- 
ship, to the love you bear your children, — help 
me in my trouble." So the queen Tecalco prayed 
the queen Acatlan in the palace the morning after 
the audience given the Tezcucan by the king. 

The two were sitting in a room furnished with 
some taste. Through the great windows, shaded 
by purple curtains, streamed the fresh breath of 
the early day. There were female slaves around 
them in waiting; while a boy nearly grown, at 
the eastern end of the apartment, was pitching 
the golden balls in totoloque. This was prince 
lo*, the brother of Tula, and son of Tecalco. 

" What is the trouble } What can I do ? " asked 

"Listen to me," said Tecalco. "The king has 
just gone. He came in better mood than usual, 
and talked pleasantly. Something had happened ; 
some point of policy had been gained. Nowadays, 
you know, he talks and thinks of nothing but 
policy; formerly it was all of war. We cannot 
deny, Acatlan, that he is much changed. Well, 
he played a game with lo', then sat down, saying 
he had news which he thought would please me. 
You will hardly believe it, but he said that Iztlil*, 
the proud Tezcucan, asked Tula in marriage last 


night. Think of it ! Tula, my blossom, my soul ! 
and to that vile cacique! " 

"Well, he is brave, and the son of 'Hualpilli,'" 
said Acatlan. 

"What! You!" said Tecalco despairingly. 
"Do you, too, turn against me? I do not like 
him, and would not if he were the son of a god. 
Tula hates him ! " 

"I will not turn against you, Tecalco. Be 
calmer, and tell me what more the king said" 

"I told him I was surprised, but not glad to 
hear the news. He frowned, and paced the floor, 
now here, now there. I was frightened, but could 
bear his anger better than the idea of my Tula, 
so good, so beautiful, the wife of the base Tez- 
cucan. He said the marriage must go on; it 
was required by policy, and would help quiet the 
Empire, which was never so threatened. You 
will hardly believe I ventured to tell him that it 
should not be, as Tula was already contracted to 
Guatamozin. I supposed that announcement 
would quiet the matter, but it only enraged him ; 
he spoke bitterly of the 'tzin. I could scarcely 
believe my ears. He used to love him. What 
has happened to change his feeling.? " 

Acatlan thrummed her pretty mouth with her 
fingers, and thought awhile. 

"Yes, I have heard some stories about the 
'tzin" — 

" Indeed ! ** said Tecalco, opening her eyes. 

"He too has changed, as you may have ob- 
served," continued Acatlan. "He used to be 


gay and talkative, fond of company, and dance ; 
latterly, he stays at home, and when abroad, 
mopes, and is silent ; while we all know that no 
great private or public misfortune has happened 
him. The king appears to have noticed it. And, 
my dear sister," — the queen lowered her voice 
to a confidential whisper, — " they say the 'tzin 
aspires to the throne." 

" What ! Do you believe it ? Does the king ? " 
cried Tecalco, more in anger than surprise. 

" I believe nothing yet, though there are some 
grounds for his accusers to go upon. They say 
he entertains at his palace near Iztapalapan none 
but men of the army, and that while in Tenoch- 
titlan, he studies the favor of the people, and uses 
his wealth to win popularity with all classes. In- 
deed, Tecalco, somehow the king learned that, on 
the day of the celebration of Quetzal', the 'tzin 
was engaged in a direct conspiracy against him." 

" It is false, Acatlan, it is false ! The king has 
not a more faithful subject. I know the *tzin. 
He is worth a thousand of the Tezcucan, who is 
himself the traitor." And the vexed queen beat 
the floor with her sandaled foot. 

*'As to that, Tecalco, I know nothing. But 
what more from the king } " 

" He told me that Tula should never marry the 
'tzin ; he would use all his power against it ; he 
would banish him from the city first. And his 
rage increased until, finally, he swore by the gods 
he would order a banquet, and, in presence of all 
the lords of the Empire, publicly betroth Tula 


and the Tezcucan. He said he would do any- 
thing the safety of the throne and the gods re- 
quired of him. He never was so angry. And 
that, O Acatlan, my sister, that is my trouble. 
How can I save my child from such a horrid 

Acatlan shook her head gloomily. " The king 
brooks defeat better than opposition. We would 
not be safe to do anything openly. I acknowledge 
myself afraid, and unable to advise you." 

Tecalco burst into tears, and wrung her hands, 
overcome by fear and rage. lo* then left his 
game, and came to her. He was not handsome, 
being too large for his years, and ungraceful ; 
this tendency to homeliness was increased by the 
smallness of his face and head ; the features 
were actually childish. 

" Say no more, mother," he said, tears standing 
in his eyes, as if to prove his sympathy and kind- 
liness. " You know it would be better to play 
with the tigers than stir the king to anger." 

"Ah, lo', what shall I do.^ I always heard 
you speak well of the *tzin. You loved him once." 

"And I love him yet." 

Tecalco was less pacified than ever. 

" What would I not give to know who set the 
king so against him! Upon the traitor be the 
harm there is in a mother's curse ! If my child 
must be sacrificed, let it be by a priest, and as a 
victim to the gods." 

" Do not speak so. Be wise, Tecalco. Recol- 
lect such sorrows belong to our rank." 


"Our rank, Acatlan! I can forget it sooner 
than that I am a mother ! Oh, you do not know 
how long I have nursed the idea of wedding Tula 
to the *tzin ! Since their childhood I have prayed, 
plotted, and hoped for it. With what pride I 
have seen them grow up, — he so brave, generous, 
and princely, she so staid and beautiful ! I have 
never allowed her to think of other destiny : the 
gods made them for each other." 

" Mother," said lo' thoughtfully, " I have heard 
you say that Guatamozin was wise. Why not 
send him word of what has .happened, and put our 
trust in him ? " 

The poor queen caught at the suggestion ea- 
gerly ; for with a promise of aid, at the same time 
it relieved her of responsibility, of all burthens 
the most dreadful to a woman. And Acatlan, 
really desirous of helping her friend, but at a 
loss for a plan, and terrified by the idea of the 
monarch's wrath incurred, wondered they had not 
thought of the proposal sooner, and urged the 
'tzin's right to be informed of the occurrence. 

"There must be secrecy, Tecalco. The king 
must never know us as traitors: that would be 
our ruin." 

" There shall be no danger ; I can go myself," 
said lo*. " It is long since I was at Iztapalapan, 
and they say the *tzin has such beautiful gardens. 
I want to see the three kings who hold torches in 
his hall ; I want to try a bow with him." 

After some entreaty, Tecalco assented. She 
required him, however, to put on a costume less 


likely to attract attention, and take some other 
than a royal canoe across the lake. Half an hour 
later, he passed out of a garden gate, and, by a 
circuitous route, hurried to the canal in which 
lay the vessels of the Iztapalapan watermen. He 
found one, and was bargaining with its owner, 
when a young man walked briskly up, and stepped 
into a canoe close by. Something in the gay dress 
of the stranger made lo* look at him a second 
time, and he was hardly less pleased than sur- 
prised at being addressed, — 

" Ho, friend ! I am going to your city. Save 
your cocoa, and go with me." 

lo' was confused. 

" Come on ! *' the stranger persisted, with a 
pleasant smile. " Come on ! I want company. 
You were never so welcome." 

The smile decided the boy. He set one foot in 
the vessel, but instantly retreated — an ocelot, 
crouched in the bottom, raised its round head, 
and stared fixedly at him. The stranger laughed, 
and reassured him, after which he walked boldly 
forward. Then the canoe swung from its moor- 
ing, and in a few minutes, under the impulsion of 
three strong slaves, went flying down the canal. 
Under bridges, through incoming flotillas, and 
past the great houses on either hand they darted, 
until the city was left behind, and the lake, 
colored with the borrowed blue of the sky, spread 
out rich and billowy before them. The eyes of 
the stranger brightened at the prospect. 

" I like this. By Our Mother I like it ! " he 


said earnestly. " We have lakes in Tihuanco on 
which I have spent days riding waves and spearing 
fish ; but they were dull to this. See the stretch 
of the water ! Look yonder at the villages, and 
here at the city and Chapultepec ! Ah, that you 
were born in Tenochtitlan be proud. There is no 
grander birthplace this side of the Sun ! " 

" I am an Aztec," said lo*, moved by the words. 

The other smiled, and added, "Why not go 
further, and say, 'and son of the king.* " 

lo' was startled. 

" Surprised ! Good prince, I am a hunter. From 
habit, I observe everything; a track, a tree, a 
place, once seen is never forgotten ; and since I 
came to the city, the night before the combat of 
Quetzal*, the habit has not left me. That day 
you were seated under the red canopy, with the 
princesses Tula and Nenetzin. So I came to know 
the king's son." 

" Then you saw the combat } ** 

"And how brave it was ! There never was its 
match, — never such archery as the *tzin's. Then 
the blow with which he killed the Othmi ! I only 
regretted that the Tezcucan escaped. I do not 
like him ; he is envious and spiteful ; it would have 
been better had he fallen instead of the Otompan. 
You know Iztlir ? '* 

" Not to love him," said lo*. 

" Is he like the *tzin ? " 

"Not at all." 

"So I have heard," said the hunter, shruggin^^ 
his shoulders. " But — Down, fellow ! " he cried 


to the ocelot, whose approaches discomposed the 
prince. " I was going to say," he resumed, with 
a look which, as an invitation to confidence, was 
irresistible, " that there is no reason why you and 
I should not be friends. We are both going to 
see the *tzin" — 

lo* was again much confused. 

" I only heard you say so to the waterman on the 
landing. If your visit, good prince, was intended 
as a secret, you are a careless messenger. But 
have no fear. I intend entering the 'tzin*s service ; 
that is, if he will take me." 

"Is the 'tzin enlisting men ? " asked lo'. 

"No. I am merely weary of hunting. My 
father is a good merchant whose trading life is too 
tame for me. I love excitement. Even hunting 
deer and chasing wolves are too tame. I will now 
try war, and there is but one whom I care to 
follow. Together we will see and talk to him." 

"You speak as if you were used to arms." 

" My skill may be counted nothing. I seek the 
service more from what I imagine it to be. The 
march, the camp, the battle, the taking captives, 
the periling life, when it is but a secondary object, 
as it must be with every warrior of true ambition, 
all have charms for my fancy. Besides, I am dis- 
contented with my condition. I want honor, rank, 
and command, — wealth I have. Hence, for me, 
the army is the surest road. Beset with trials 
and needing a good heart and arm, yet it travels 
upward, upward, and that is all I seek to know." 

The naiveti and enthusiasm of the hunter were 


new and charming to the prince, who was im- 
pelled to study him once more. He noticed how 
exactly the arms were rounded ; that the neck was 
long, muscular, and widened at the base, like the 
trunk of an oak; that the features, excited by 
the parsing feeling, were noble and good ; that the 
very carriage of the head was significant of apti- 
tude for brave things, if not command. Could 
the better gods have thrown lo' in such company 
for self -comparison ? Was that the time they had 
chosen to wake within him the longings of mind 
natural to coming manhood ? He felt the inspira- 
tion of an idea new to him. All his life had been 
passed in the splendid monotony of his father's 
palace ; he had been permitted merely to hear of 
war, and that from a distance; of the noble 
passion for arms he knew nothing. Accustomed 
to childish wants, with authority to gratify them, 
ambition for power had not yet disturbed him. 
But, as he listened, it was given him to see the 
emptiness of his past life, and understand the 
advantages he already possessed ; he said to him- 
self, "Am I not master of grade and opportunities, 
so coveted by this unknown hunter, and so far 
above his reach ? " In that moment the content- 
ment which had canopied his existence, like a 
calm sky, full of stars and silence and peace, 
was taken up, and whirled away; his spirit 
strengthened with a rising ambition and a courage 
royally descended. 

"You are going to study with the 'tzin. I 
would like to be your comrade," he said. 


" I accept you, I give you my heart ! '* replied 
the hunter, with beaming face. " We will march, 
and sleep, and fight, and practice together. I 
will be true to you as shield to the warrior. 
Hereafter, O prince, when you would speak of 
me, call me Hualpa ; and if you would make me 
happy, say of me, * He is my comrade ' ! " 

The sun stood high in the heavens when they 
reached the landing. Mounting a few steps that 
led from the water's edge, they found themselves 
in a garden rich with flowers, beautiful trees, run- 
ning streams, and trellised summer-houses, — the 
garden of a prince, — of Guatamozin, the true 
hero of his country. 


UATAMOZIN inherited a 
great fortune, ducal rank, 
and an estate near Iztapa- 
lapan. Outside the city, 
midst a garden that ex- 
tended for miles around, 
stood his palace, built in 
the prevalent style, one story high, but broad and 
wide enough to comfortably accommodate several 
thousand men. His retainers, a legion in them- 


selves, inhabited it for the most part ; and whether 
soldier, artisan, or farmer, each had his quarters, 
his exclusive possession as against every one but 
the 'tzin. 

The garden was almost entirely devoted to the 
cultivation of fruits and flowers. Hundreds of 
slaves, toiling there constantly under tasteful 
supervision, made and kept it beautiful past 
description. Rivulets of pure water, spanned by 
bridges and bordered with flowers, ran through 
every part over beds of sand yellow as gold. The 
paths frequently led to artificial lagoons, delight- 
ful for the coolness that lingered about them, 
when the sun looked with his burning eye down 
upon the valley ; for they were fringed with wil- 
low and sycamore trees, all clad with vines as 
with garments ;• and some were further garnished 
with little islands, plumed with palms, and made 
attractive by kiosks. Nor were these all. Foun- 
tains and cascades filled the air with sleepy songs ; 
orange-groves rose up, testifying to the clime they 
adorned ; and in every path small teules, on ped- 
estals of stone, so mingled religion with the love- 
liness that there could be no admiration without 

lo* and Hualpa, marveling at the beauty they 
beheld, pursued a path, strewn with white sand, 
and leading across the garden, to the palace. A 
few armed men loitered about the portal, but 
allowed them to approach without question. From 
the antechamber they sent their names to the 
'tzin, and directly the slave returned with word to 
lo* to follow him. 


The Study into whieh the prince was presently 
shown was furnished with severe plainness. An 
arm-chair, if such it may be called, some rude 
tables and uncushioned benches, offered small 
encouragement to idleness. 

Sand, glittering like crushed crystal, covered 
the floor, and, instead of tapestry, the walls were 
hung with maps of the Empire, and provinces the 
most distant. Several piles of MSS., — the books 
of the Aztecs, — with parchment and writing- 
materials, lay on a table ; and half concealed 
amongst them was a harp, such as we have seen 
in the hands of the royal minstrels. 

"Welcome, lo*, welcome!" said the 'tzin, in 
his full voice. " You have come at length, after 
so many promises, — come last of all my friends. 
When you were here before, you were a child, 
and I a boy like you now. Let us go and talk it 
over." And leading him to a bench by a window, 
they sat down. 

" I remember the visit," said lo*. " It was 
many years ago. You were studying then, and I 
find you studying yet." 

A serious thought rose to the 'tzin's mind, and 
his smile was clouded. 

" You do not understand me, lo*. Shut up in 
your father's palace, your life is passing too 
dreamily. The days with you are like waves of 
the lake : one rolls up, and, scarcely murmuring, 
breaks on the shore ; another succeeds, — that is 
all. Hear, and believe me. He who would be 
wise must study. There are many who live for 


themselves, a few who live for their race. Of the 
first class, no thought is required ; they eat, sleep, 
are merry, and die, and have no hall in heaven : 
but the second must think, toil, and be patient ; 
they must know, and, if possible, know every- 
thing. God and ourselves are the only sources 
of knowledge. I would not have you despise 
humanity, but all that is from ourselves is soon 
learned. There is but one inexhaustible foun- 
tain of intelligence, and that is Nature, the God 
Supreme. See those volumes ; they are of men, 
full of wisdom, but nothing original ; they are 
borrowed from the book of deity, — the always- 
opened book, of which the sky is one chapter, and 
earth the other. Very deep are the lessons of 
life and heaven there taught. I confess to you, 
lo', that I aspire to be of those whose lives are 
void of selfishness, who live for others, for their 
country. Your father*s servant, I would serve 
him understandingly ; to do so, I must be wise ; 
and I cannot be wise without patient study." 

Io*s unpracticed mind but half understood the 
philosophy to which he listened ; but when the 
'tzin called himself his father's servant, Acatlan's 
words recurred to the boy. 

" O 'tzin," he said, " they are not all like you, 
so good, so true. There have been some telling 
strange stories about you to the king." 

" About me ? " 

"They say you want to be king," — the listen- 
er's face was passive, — "and that on Quetzal's 
day you were looking for opportunity to attack 


my father." Still there was no sign of emotion. 
" Your staying at home, they say, is but a pre- 
tense to cover your designs." 

" And what more, lo* ? " 

"They say you are taking soldiers into your 
pay ; that you give money, and practice all man- 
ner of arts, to become popular in Tenochtitlan ; 
and that your delay in entering the arena on the 
day of the combat had something with your 

For a moment the noble countenance of the 
'tzin was disturbed. 

" A lying catalogue ! But is that all > " 

" No," — and lo's voice trembled, — "I am a 
secret messenger from the queen Tecalco, my 
mother. She bade me say to you, that last night 
Iztlir, the Tezcucan, had audience with the king, 
and asked Tula for his wife." 

Guatamozin sprang from his seat more pallid 
than ever in battle. 

" And what said Montezuma ? " 

"This morning he came to the queen, my 
mother, and told her about it ; on your account 
she objected ; but he became angry, spoke harshly 
of you, and swore Tula should not wed with you ; 
he would banish you first." 

Through the silent cell the *tzin strode gloom- 
ily ; the blow weakened him. Mualox was wrong ; 
men cannot make themselves almost gods; by 
having many ills, and bearing them bravely, they 
can only become heroes. After a long struggle 
he resumed his calmness and seat. 


"What more from the queen ? " 

" Only, that as she was helpless, she left every- 
thing to you. She dares not oppose the king." 

" I understand ! " exclaimed the *tzin, starting 
from the bench again. "The Tezcucan is my 
enemy. Crossing the lake, night before the com- 
bat, he told me he loved Tula, and charged me 
with designs against the Empire, and cursed the 
king and hi^ crown. Next day he fought under 
my challenge. The malice of a mean soul cannot 
be allayed by kindness. But for me the tamanes 
would have buried him with the Tlascalans. I 
sent him to my house ; my slaves tended him ; 
yet his hate was only sharpened." 

He paced the floor to and fro, speaking vehe- 

" The ingrate charges me with aspiring to the 
throne. Judge me, holy gods ! Judge how will- 
ingly I would lay down my life to keep the crown 
where it is ! He says my palace has been open 
to men of the army. It was always so, — I am 
a warrior. I have consulted them about the 
Empire, but always as a subject, never for its ill. 
Such charges I laugh at ; but that I sought to 
slay the king is too horrible for endurance. On 
the day of the combat, about the time of the 
assemblage, I went to the C(i of Quetzal* for 
blessing. I saw no smoke or other sign of fire 
upon the tower. Mualox was gone, and I trem- 
bled lest the fire should be dead. I climbed up, 
and found only a few living embers. There were 
no fagots on the roof, nor in the courtyard ; the 


shrine was abandoned, Mualox old. The desok- 
tion appealed to me. The god seemed to claim 
my service. I broke my spear and shield, and 
flung the fragments into the urn, then hastened 
to the palace, loaded some tamanes with wood, 
and went back to the Cd. I was not too late 
there; but, hurrying to the tianguez, I found 
myself almost dishonored. So was I kept from 
the arena ; that service to the god i^ now helping 
my enemy as proof that I was waiting on a house- 
top to murder my king and kinsman ! Alas ! I 
have only slaves to bear witness to the holy work 
that kept me on the temple. Much I fear the 
gods are making the king blind for his ruin and 
the ruin of us all. He believes the strangers on 
the coast are from the Sun, when they are but 
men. Instead of war against them, he is think- 
ing of embassies and presents. Now, more than 
ever, he needs the support of friends ; but he 
divides his family against itself, and confers favors 
on enemies. I see the danger. Unfriendly gods 
are moving against us, not in the strangers but in 
our own divisions. Remember the prophecy of 
Mualox, 'The race of Azatlan is ended forever.* " 

The speaker stopped his walking, and his voice 
became low and tremulous. 

" Yet I love him ; he has been kind ; he gave 
me command ; through his graciousness I have 
dwelt unmolested in this palace of my father. I 
am bound to him by love and law. As he has 
been my friend, I will be his ; when his peril is 
greatest, I will be truest. Nothing but ill from 


him to Anahuac can make me his enemy. So, 
so, — let it pass. I trust the future to the gods." 

Then, as if seeking to rid himself of the bitter 
subject, he turned to lo'. "Did not some one 
come with you ?'* 

The boy told what he knew of Hualpa. 

*' I take him to be no common fellow ; he has 
some proud ideas. I think you would like him." 

"I will try your hunter, Io\ And if he is 
what you say of him, I will accept his service." 

And they went immediately to the antecham- 
ber, where Hualpa saluted the 'tzin. The latter 
surveyed his fine person approvingly, and said, 
" I am told you wish to enter my service. Were 
you ever in battle ? " 

The hunter told his story with his wonted 

" Well, the chase is a good school for warriors. 
It trains the thews, teaches patience and endur- 
ance, and sharpens the spirit's edge. Let us to 
the garden. A hand to retain skill must con- 
tinue its practice ; like a good memory, it is the 
better for exercise. Come, and I will show you 
how I keep prepared for every emergency of 
combat." And so saying, the 'tzin led the visit- 
ors out. 

They went to the garden, followed by the 
retainers lounging at the door. A short walk 
brought them to a space surrounded by a copse 
of orange-trees, strewn with sand, and broad 
enough for a mock battle ; a few benches about 
the margin afforded accommodation to specta- 


tors; a stone house at the northern end served 
for armory, and was full of arms and armor. A 
glance assured the visitors that the place had 
been prepared expressly for training. Some score 
or more of warriors, in the military livery of the 
*tzin, already occupied a portion of the field. 
Upon his appearance they quitted their games, 
and closed around him with respectful saluta- 

" How now, my good Chinantlan ! " he said, 
pleasantly. "Did I not award you a prize yes- 
terday.? There are few in the valley who can 
excel you in launching the spear.** 

"The plume is mine no longer," replied the 
warrior. " I was beaten last night. The winner, 
however, is a countryman.*' 

" A countryman ! You Chinantlans seem bom 
to the spear. Where is the man ? ** 

The victor stepped forward, and drew up before 
the master, who regarded his brawny limbs, sinewy 
neck, and bold eyes with undisguised admiration ; 
so an artist would regard a picture or a statue. 
Above the fellow*s helm floated a plume of scar- 
let feathers, the trophy of his superior skill. 

" Get your spear," said the *tzin. " I bring you 
a competitor.** 

The spear was brought, an ugly weapon in any 
hand. The head was of copper, and the shaft 
sixteen feet long. The rough Chinantlan han- 
dled it with a loving grip. 

" Have you such in Tihuanco ? " asked Guata- 


Hualpa balanced the weapon and laughed. 

"We have only javelins, — mere reeds to this. 
Unless to hold an enemy at bay, I hardly know 
its use. Certainly, it is not for casting." 

" Set the mark, men. We will give the stran- 
ger a lesson. Set it to the farthest throw." 

A pine picket was then set up a hundred feet 
away, presenting a target of the height and 
breadth of a man, to which a shield was bolted 
breast-high from the sand. 

" Now give the Chinantlan room ! " 

The wearer of the plume took his place ; advan- 
cing one foot, he lifted the spear above his head 
with the right hand, poised it a moment, then 
hurled it from him, and struck the picket a palm's 
breadth below the shield. 

" Out, out ! '* cried the *tzin. " Bring me the 
spear ; I have a mind to wear the plume myself." 

When it was brought him, he cast it lightly as 
a child would toss a weed; yet the point drove 
clanging through the brazen base of the shield, 
and into the picket behind. Amid the applause 
of the sturdy warriors he said to Hualpa, — 

" Get ready ; the hunter must do something 
for the honor of his native hills." 

" I cannot use a spear in competition with Gua- 
tamozin," said Hualpa, with brightening eyes ; 
"but if he will have brought a javelin, a good 
comely weapon, I will show him my practice." 

A slender-shafted missile, about half the length 
of the spear, was produced from the armory, and 
examined carefully. 

Drew the graceful 7ueapon arm length backward 


" See, good 'tzin, it is not true. Let me have 

The next one was to his satisfaction. 

" Now," he said, " set the target thrice a hun- 
dred feet away. If the dainty living of Xoli have 
not weakened my arm, I will at least strike yon 

The bystanders looked at each other wonder- 
ingly, and the 'tzin was pleased. He had not 
lost a word or a motion of Hualpa's. The feat 
undertaken was difficult and but seldom achieved 
successfully ; but the aspirant was confident, and 
he manifested the will to which all achievable 
things are possible. 

The target was reset, and the Tihuancan took 
the stand. Resting the shaft on the palm of his 
left hand, he placed the fingers of his right 
against the butt, and drew the graceful weapon 
arm-length backward. It described an arc in the 
air, and to the astonishment of all fell in the 
shield a little left of the centre. 

"Tell me, Hualpa," said Guatamozin, "are there 
more hunters in Tihuanco who can do such a 
deed ? I will have you bring them to me." 

The Tihuancan lowered his eyes. "I grieve 
to say, good 'tzin, that I know of none. I ex- 
celled them all. But I can promise that in my 
native province there are hundreds braver than I, 
ready to serve you to the death." 

"Well, it is enough. I intended to try you 
further, and with other weapons, but not now. 
He who can so wield a javelin must know to 


bend a bow and strike with a maquahuitl, I 
accept your service. Let us to the palace." 

Hualpa thrilled with delight. Already he felt 
himself in the warrior's path, with a glory won. 
All his dreams were about to be realized. In 
respectful silence he followed Guatamozin, and 
as they reached the portal steps, lo* touched his 

"Remember our compact on the lake,** he 

The hunter put his arm lovingly about the 
prince, and so they entered the house. And that 
day Fate wove a brotherhood of three hearts 
which was broken only by death. 


I HE same day, in the evening, Xoli 
lay on a lounge by the fountain 
under his portico. His position 
gave him the range of the rooms, 
which glowed like day, and re- 
sounded with life. He could 
even distinguish the occupations of some of his 
guests. In fair view a group was listening to a 
minstrel; beyond them he occasionally caught 
sight of girls dancing ; and eyery moment peals 
of laughter floated out from the chambers of play. 
A number of persons, whose arms and attire pub- 
lished them of the nobler class, sat around the 
Chalcan in the screen of the curtains, conversing, 
or listlessly gazing out on the square. 

Gradually Xoli*s reverie became more dreamy ; 
sleep stole upon his senses, and shut out the lul- 
laby of the fountain, and drowned the influence 
of his cuisine. His patrons after a while disap- 


peared, and the watchers on the temples told the 
passing time without awakening him. Very happy 
was the Chalcan. 

The slumber was yet strong upon him, when 
an old man and a girl came to the portico. The 
former, decrepit and ragged, seated himself on 
the step. Scanty hair hung in white locks over 
his face; and grasping a staff, he rested his 
head wearily upon his hands, and talked to him- 

The girl approached the Chalcan with the muf- 
fled tread of fear. She was clad in the usual 
dress of her class, — a white chemise, with several 
skirts short and embroidered, over which, after 
being crossed at the throat, a red scarf dropped 
its tasseled ends nearly to her heels. The neat- 
ness of the garments more than offset their 
cheapness. Above her forehead, in the fillet that 
held the mass of black hair off her face, leaving it 
fully exposed, there was the gleam of a common 
jewel ; otherwise she was without ornament. In 
all beauty there is — nay, must be — an idea; so 
that a countenance to be handsome even, must in 
some way at sight quicken a sentiment or stir a 
memory in the beholder. It was so here. To 
look at the old man's guardian was to know that 
she had a sorrow to tell, and to pity her before it 
was told ; to be sure that under her tremulous 
anxiety there was a darksome story and an ex- 
traordinary purpose, the signs of which, too fine 
for the materialism of words, but plain to the 
sympathetic inner consciousness, lurked in the 


comers of her mouth, looked from her great black 
eyes, and blent with every action. 

Gliding over the marble, she stopped behind the 
sleeper, and spoke, without awakening him; her 
voice was too like the murmur of the fountain. 
Frightened at the words, low as they were, she 
hesitated ; but a look at the old man reassured 
her, and she called again. Xoli started. 

" How now, mistress ! " he said angrily, reach- 
ing for her hand. 

"I want to see Xoli, the Chalcan,*' she replied, 
escaping his touch. 

" What have you to do with him ? " 

He sat up, and looked at her in wonder. 

"What have you to do with him.?" he re- 
peated in a kindlier tone. 

Her face kindled with a sudden intelligence. 
" Xoli ! The gods be praised ! And their bless- 
ing on you, if you will do a kind deed for a coun- 
tryman ! " 

" Well ! But what beggar is that ? Came he 
with you.?" 

" It is of him I would speak. Hear me ! " she 
asked, drawing near him again. "He is poor, 
but a Chalcan. If you have memory of the city 
of your birth, be merciful to his child." 

"His child! Who.? Nay, it is a beggar's 
tale! Ho, fellow! How many times have I 
driven you away already ! How dare you return I " 

Slowly the old man raised his head from his 
staff, and turned his face to the speaker; there 
was no light there : he was blind ! 


"By the holy fires, no trick this! Say on, 
girl. He is a Chalcan, you said." 

" A countryman of yours," — and her tears 
fell fast. "A hut is standing where the cause- 
way leads from Chalco to Iztapalapan ; it is my 
father's. He was happy under its roof; for, 
though blind and poor, he could hear my mother's 
voice, which was the kindliest thing on earth to 
him. But Our Mother called her on the coming 
of a bright morning, and since then he has asked 
for bread, when I had not a tunc^ to give him. 
O Xoli ! did you but know what it is to ask for 
bread, when there is none ! I am his child, and 
can think of but one way to quiet his cry." And 
she paused, looking in his face for encouragement. 

" Tell me your name, girl ; tell me your name, 
then go on," he said, with a trembling lip, for his 
soul was clever. 

At that instant the old man moaned queru- 
lously, " Yet eve, Yeteve ! " 

She went, and clasped his neck, and spoke to 
him soothingly. Xoli's eyes became humid ; 
down in the depths of his heart an emotion grew 
strangely warm. 

"Yeteve, Yeteve!" he repeated musingly, 
thinking the syllables soft and pretty. ** Come ; 
stand here again, Yeteve," said he aloud, when 
the dotard was pacified. " He wants bread, you 
say : how would you supply him } " 

" You are rich. You want many slaves ; and 
the law permits the poor to sell themselves.^ I 

1 A species of fig. 2 Prescott, Conq. of Mexico. 


would be your slave, — asking no price, except 
that you give the beggar bread." 

" A slave ! Sell yourself ! " he cried in dismay. 
" A slave ! Why, you are beautiful, Yeteve, and 
have not bethought yourself that some day the 
gods may want you for a victim." 

She was silent. 

"What can you do.? Dance.? Sing? Can 
you weave soft veils and embroider golden flow- 
ers, like ladies in the palaces? If you can, no 
slave in Anahuac will be so peerless ; the lords 
will bid more cocoa than you can carry ; you will 
be rich." 

" If so, then can I do all you have said." 

And she ran, and embraced the old man, say- 
ing, "Patience, patience! In a little while we 
will have bread, and be rich. Yes," she contin- 
ued, returning to the Chalcan, " they taught me 
in the teocallis, where they would have had me as 

"It is good to be a priestess, Yeteve; you 
should have stayed there." 

** But I did so love the little hut by the cause- 
way. And I loved the beggar, and they let me 


" And now you wish to sell yourself ? I want 
slaves, but not such as you, Yeteve. I want 
those who can work, — slaves whom the lash will 
hurt, but not kill. Besides, you are worth more 
cocoa than I can spare. Keep back your tears. 
I will do better than buy you myself. I will sell 
you, and to-night. Here in my house you shall 


dance for the bidders. I know them all. He 
shall be brave and rich and clever who buys, — 
clever and brave, and the owner of a palace, full 
of bread for the beggar, and love for Yeteve." 

Clapping his hands, a slave appeared at the 

" Take yon beggar, and give him to eat. Lead 
him, — he is blind. Come, child, follow me." 

He summoned his servants, and bade them pub- 
lish the sale in every apartment ; then he led the 
girl to the hall used for the exhibition of his own 
dancing-girls. It was roomy and finely lighted; 
the floor was of polished marble; a blue drop- 
curtain extended across the northern end, in front 
of which were rows of stools, handsomely cush- 
ioned, for spectators. Music, measured for the 
dance, greeted the poor priestess, and had a magi- 
cal effect upon her ; her eyes brightened, a smile 
played about her mouth. Never was the chamber 
of the rich Chalcan graced by a creature fairer or 
more devoted. 

"A priestess of the dance needs no teaching 
from me," said Xoli, patting her flushed cheek. 
"Get ready; they are coming. Beware of the 
marble ; and when I clap my hands, begin." 

She looked around the hall once ; not a point 
escaped her. Springing to the great curtain, and 
throwing her robe away, she stood before it in 
her simple attire ; and no studied effect of art 
could have been more beautiful ; motionless and 
lovely, against the relief of the blue background, 
she seemed actually spirituelle. 


Upon the announcement of the auction, the 
patrons of the house hurried to the scene. Volun- 
tary renunciation of freedom was common enough 
among the poorer classes in Tenochtitlan, but a 
transaction of the kind under the auspices of the 
rich broker was a novelty ; so that curiosity and 
expectation ran high. The nobles, as they arrived, 
occupied the space in front of the curtain, or 
seated themselves, marveling at the expression of 
her countenance. 

The music had not ceased; and the bidders 
being gathered, Xoli, smiling with satisfaction, 
stepped forward to give the signal, when an up- 
roar of merriment announced the arrival of a 
party of the younger dignitaries of the court, — 
amongst them Iztlil', the Tezcucan, and Maxtla, 
chief of the guard, the former showing signs of 
quick recovery from his wounds, the latter su- 
perbly attired. 

" Hold ! What have we here ? " cried the Tez- 
cucan, surveying the girl. "Has this son of 
Chalco been robbing the palace ? *' 

" The temples, my lord Iztlil' ! He has robbed 
the temples ! By all the gods, it is the priestess 
Yeteve ! " answered Maxtla, amazed. " Say, Chal- 
can, what does priestess of the Blessed Lady in 
such unhallowed den ? " 

The broker explained. 

" Good, good ! " shouted the new-comers. 

"Begin, Xoli! A thousand cocoa for the 
priestess, — millions of bread for the beggar ! " 
This from Maxtla. 


"Only a thousand?" said IztliF scornfully. 
" Only a thousand ? Five thousand to begin with, 
more after she dances." 

Xoli gave the signal, and the soul of the Chalcan 
girl broke forth in motion. Dancing had been her 
rdle in the religious rites of the temple ; many a 
time the pabas around the altar, allured by her 
matchless grace, had turned from the bleeding 
heart indifferent to its auguration. And she had 
always danced moved by no warmer impulse than 
duty ; so that the prompting of the spirit in the 
presence of a strange auditory free to express 
itself, like that she now faced, came to her for the 
first time. The dance chosen was one of the wild, 
quick, pulsating figures wont to be given in thanks- 
giving for favorable tokens from the deity. The 
steps were irregular and difficult ; a great variety 
of posturing was required; the head, arms, and 
feet had each their parts, all to be rendered 
in harmony. At the commencement she was 
frightened by the ecstasy that possessed her ; sud- 
denly the crowd vanished, and she saw only the 
beggar, and him wanting bread. Then her form 
became divinely gifted ; she bounded as if winged ; 
advanced and retreated, a moment swaying like 
a reed, the next whirling like a leaf in a cir- 
cling wind. The expression of her countenance 
throughout was so full of soul, so intense, rapt, and 
beautiful, that the lords were spell-bound. When 
the figure was ended, there was an outburst of 
voices, some bidding, others applauding ; though 
most of the spectators were silent from pity and 


Of the competitors the loudest was Iztlil'. In 
his excitement, he would have sacrificed his pro- 
vince to become the owner of the girl. Maxtla 
opposed him. 

" Five thousand cocoa ! Hear, Chalcan ! " 
shouted the Tezcucan. 

"A thousand better ! " answered Maxtla, laugh- 
ing at the cacique's rage. 

" By all the gods, I will have her ! Put me 
down a thousand quills of gold ! " 

"A thousand quills above him! Not bread, 
but riches for the beggar ! *' replied Maxtla, half 
in derision. 

" Two thousand, — only two thousand quills ! 
More, noble lords ! She is worth a palace ! " sung 
Xoli, trembling with excitement ; for in such large 
bids he saw an extraordinary loan. Just then, 
under the parted curtain of the principal doorway, 
he beheld one dear to every lover of Tenochtitlan ; 
he stopped. All eyes turned in that direction, 
and a general exclamation followed, — " The 'tzin, 

Guatamozin was in full military garb, and 
armed. As he lingered by the door to compre- 
hend the scene, what with his height, brassy 
helm, and embossed shield, he looked like a Greek 
returned from Troy. 

" Yeteve, the priestess ! " he said. " Impos- 
sible ! " 

He strode to the front. 

"How.^" he said, placing his hand on her head. 
"Has Yeteve flown the temple to become a 
slave ? " 


Up to this time, it would seem that, in the 
fixedness of her purpose, she had been blind to all 
but the beggar, and deaf to everything but the 
music. Now she knelt at the feet of the noble 
Aztec, sobbing broken-heartedly. The spectators 
were moved with sympathy, — all save one. 

" Who stays the saJe ? By all the gods, Chal- 
can, you shall proceed ! *' 

Scarcely had the words been spoken, or the 
duller faculties understood them, before Guata- 
mozin confronted the speaker, his javelin drawn, 
and his shield in readiness. Naturally his coun- 
tenance was womanly gentle; but the transition 
of feeling was mighty, and those looking upon 
him then shrank with dread ; it was as if their 
calm blue lake had in an instant darkened with 
storm. Face to face he stood with the Tezcucan, 
the latter unprepared for combat, but in nowise 
daunted. In their angry attitude a seer might 
have read the destiny of Anahuac. 

One thrust of the javelin would have sent the 
traitor to Mictlan ; the Empire, as well as the 
wrongs of the lover, called for it ; but before the 
veterans, recovering from their panic, could rush 
between the foemen, all the 'tzin's calmness 

" Xoli,** he said, " a priestess belongs to the 
temple, and cannot be sold ; such is the law. The 
sale would have sent your heart, and that of her 
purchaser, to the Blessed Lady. Remove the girl. 
I will see that she is taken to a place of safety. 
Here is gold ; give the beggar what he wants^ and 


keep him until to-morrow. — And, my lords and 
brethren," he added, turning to the company, " I 
did not think to behave so unseemly. It is only 
against the enemies of our country that we should 
turn our arms. Blood is sacred, and accursed is 
his hand who sheds that of a countryman in petty 
quarrel. I pray you, forget all that has passed." 
And with a low obeisance to them, he walked 
away, taking with him the possibility of further 
rencounter. * 

He had just arrived from his palace at Iztapa- 


[ETWEEN Tula, the child of 
Tecalco, and Nenetzin, daughter 
IB and child of Acatlan, there ex- 
ID isted a sisterly affection. The 
''* same sports had engaged them, 
and they had been, and yet were, insep- 
arable. Their mothers, themselves 
friends, encouraged the intimacy; and 
so their past lives had vanished, like 
m two summer clouds borne away by a soft 
^ south wind. 
The evening after Iztlil's overture of marriage 
was deepening over lake Tezcuco ; the breeze be- 
came murmurous and like a breath, and all the 





heavens filled with starlight. Cloudless must be 
the morrow to such a night ! 

So thought the princess Tula. Won by the 
beauty of the evening, she had flown from the city 
to her chinampa^ which was lying anchored in a 
quarter of the lake east of the causeway to Tepe- 
jaca, beyond the noise of the town, and where no 
sound less agreeable than the plash of light waves 
could disturb her dreams. 

A retreat more delightful would be a task for 
fancy. The artisan who knitted the timbers of 
the chinampa had doubtless been a lover of the 
luxuriant, and built as only a lover can build. 
The waves of the lake had not been overlooked 
in his plan ; he had measured their height, and 
the depth and width of their troughs, when the 
weather was calm and the water gentle. So he 
knew both what rocking they would make, and 
what rocking would be pleasantest to a delicate 
soul; for, as there were such souls, there were 
also such artisans in Tenochtitlan. 

Viewed from a distance, the chinampa looked 
like an island of flowers. Except where the can- 
opy of a white pavilion rose from the midst of the 
green beauty, it was covered to the water's edge 
with blooming shrubbery, which, this evening, was 
luminous with the light of lamps. The radiance, 
glinting through the foliage, tinted the atmo- 
sphere above it with mellow rays, and seemed 
the visible presence of enchantment. 

The humid night breeze blew softly under the 
raised walls of the pavilion, within which, in a 


hammock that swung to and fro regularly as the 
chinampa obeyed the waves, lay Tula and Nene- 

They were both beautiful, but different in their 
beauty. Tula's face was round and of a transpar- 
ent olive complexion, without being fair ; her eyes 
were hazel, large, clear, and full of melancholy 
earnestness ; masses of black hair, evenly parted, 
fell over her temples, and were gathered behind 
in a simple knot ; with a tall, f uU form, her pre- 
sence and manner were grave and very queenly. 
Whereas, Nenetzin's eyes, though dark, were 
bright with the light of laughter ; her voice was 
low and sweet, and her manner that of a hoiden. 
One was the noble woman, the other a jocund 

" It is late, Tula ; our father may want us. Let 
us return." 

"Be patient a little longer. The 'tzin will 
come for us ; he promised to, and you know he 
never forgets.'* 

" Patience, sister ! Ah ! you may say it, you 
who know ; but how am I to practice it, — I, who 
have only a hope ? " 

" What do you mean, Nenetzin } '* 

The girl leaned back, and struck a suspended 
hoop, in which was perched a large parrot. The 
touch, though light, interrupted the pendulous 
motion of the bird, and it pecked at her hand, 
uttering a gruff scream of rage. 

"You spoke of something I know, and you 
hope. What do you mean, child ? " 

In a hammock that swung to and fro 



Nenetzin withdrew her hand from the perch, 
looked in the questioner's face, then crept up to 
win her embrace. 

" O Tula, I know you are learned and thought- 
ful. Often after the banquet, when the hall was 
cleared, and the music begun, have I seen you 
stand apart, silent, while all others danced or 
laughed. See, your eyes are on me now, but 
more in thought than love. Oh, indeed, you are 
wise ! Tell me, did you ever think of me as a 
woman .^" 

The smile deepened on the lips, and burned in 
the eyes of the queenly auditor. 

" No, never as a woman,'* continued Nenetzin. 
"Listen to me, Tula. The other night I was 
asleep in your arms, — I felt them in love around 
me, — and I dreamed so strangely." 

" Of what ? " asked Tula, seeing she hesitated. 

" I dreamed there entered at the palace door a 
being with a countenance white like snow, while 
its hair and beard were yellow, like the silk of the 
maize ; its eyes were blue, like the deep water of 
the lake, but bright, so bright that they terrified 
while they charmed me. Thinking of it now, O 
Tula, it was a man, though it looked like a god. 
He entered at the palace door, and came into 
the great chamber where our father sat with 
his chiefs; but he came not barefooted and in 
nequen; he spoke as he were master, and our 
father a slave. Looking and listening, a feeling 
thrilled me, — thrilled warm and deep, and was 
a sense of joy, like a blessing of Tlalac. Since 


then, though I have acted as a girl, I have felt as 
a woman." 

"Very strange, indeed, Nenetzin!" said Tula 
playfully. " But you forget : I asked you what I 
know, and you only hope ? " 

" I will explain directly ; but as you are wise, 
first tell me what that feeling was." 

" Nay, I can tell you whence the water flows, 
but I cannot tell you what it is." 

" Well, since then I have had a hope " — 


"A hope of seeing the white face and blue 

" I begin to understand you, Nenetzin. But go 
on : what is it I know ? " 

" What I dreamed, — a great warrior, who 
loves you. You will see him to-night, and then, 
O Tula, — then you may tell of the feeling that 
thrilled me so in my dream." 

And with a blush and a laugh, she laid her face 
in Tula's bosom. 

Both were silent awhile, Nenetzin with her face 
hidden, and Tula looking wistfully up at the par- 
rot swinging lazily in the perch. The dream was 
singular, and made an impression on the mind of 
the one as it had on the heart of the other. 

" Look up, O Nenetzin ! " said Tula, after a 
while. " Look up, and I will tell you something 
that has seemed as strange to me as the dream to 

The girl raised her head. 

"Did you ever see Mualox, the old paba of 


Quetzal' ? No ? Well, he is said to be a prophet ; 
a look of his will make a warrior tremble. He is 
the friend of Guatamozin, who always goes to his 
shrine to worship the god. I went there once to 
make an offering. I climbed the steps, went in 
where the image is, laid my gift on the altar, and 
turned to depart, when a man came and stood by 
the door, wearing a surplice, and with long, flow- 
ing white beard. He looked at me, then bowed, 
and kissed the pavement at my feet. I shrank 
away. ' Fear not, O Tula ! * he said. * I bow to 
you, not for what you are, but for what you shall 
be. You shall be queen in your father' s palace ! ' 
With that he arose, and left me to descend." 

"Said he so.? How did he know you were 
Tula, the king s daughter } " 

"That is part of the mystery. I never saw 
him before; nor, until I told the story to the 
'tzin, did I know the paba. Now, O sister, can 
the believer of a dream refuse to believe a priest 
and prophet } " 

" A queen ! You a queen ! I will kiss you 
now, and pray for you then." And they threw 
their arms lovingly around each other. 

Then the bird above them awoke, and, with a 
fluttering of its scarlet wings, cried, " Guatamo ! 
Guatamo ! " — taught it by the patient love of 

"Oh, what a time that will be!" Nenetzin went 
on, with sparkling eyes. " What a garden we will 
make of Anahuac! How happy we shall be! 
None but the brave and beautiful .shall come 
around us ; for you will be queen, my Tula." 


"Yes; and Nenetzin shall have a lord, he 
whom she loves best, for she will be as peerless 
as I am powerful," answered Tula, humoring the 
mood. "Whom will she take? Let us decide 
now, — there are so many to choose from. What 
says she to Cacama, lord of Tezcuco ?*' 

The girl made no answer. 

" There is the lord of Chinantla, once a king, 
who has already asked our father for a wife." 

Still Nenetzin was silent. 

"Neither of them! Then there are left but 
the lord of Tlacopan, and IztUr, the Tezcucan." 

At the mention of the last name, a strong ex- 
pression of disgust burst from Nenetzin. 

" A tiger from the museum first ! It could be 
taught to love me. No, none of them for me ; 
none, Tula, if you let me have my way, bujt the 
white face and blue eyes I saw in my dream." 

"You are mad, Nenetzin. That was a god, 
not a man." 

"All the better, Tula! The god will forgive 
me for loving him." 

Before Tula spoke again, Guatamozin stepped 
within the pavilion. Nenetzin was noisy in ex- 
pressing her gladness, while the elder sister be- 
trayed no feeling by words ; only her smile and 
the glow of her eyes intensified. 

The 'tzin sat down by the hammock, and, with 
his strong hand staying its oscillation, talked 
lightly. As yet Tula knew nothing of the pro- 
posal of the Tezcucan, or of the favor the king 
had given it ; but the ken of love is as acute as 


an angel's ; sorrow of the cherished heart cannot 
be hidden from it ; so in his very jests she de- 
tected a trouble ; but, thinking it had relation to 
the condition of the Empire, she asked nothing, 
while he, loath to disturb her happiness, coun* 
seled darkly of his own soul. 

After a while, as Nenetzin prayed to return to 
the city, they left the pavilion ; and, following a 
little path through the teeming shrubbery, and 
under the boughs of orange-trees, overarched like 
an arbor, they came to the *tzin's canoe. The 
keeper of the chinampa was there with great bun- 
dles of flowers. Tula and Nenetzin entered the 
vessel ; then was the time for the slave ; so he 
threw in the bundles until they were nearly buried 
under them, — his gifts of love and allegiance. 
When the rowers pushed off, he knelt with his 
face to the earth. • 

Gliding homeward through the dusk, Guatamo- 
zin told the story of Yeteve ; and Tula, moved 
by the girl's devotion, consented to take her into 
service, — at least, until the temple claimed its 

PINCH of your snuff, Xoli ! To 
be out thus early dulls a nice 
brain, which nothing clarifies like 
snuff. By the way, it is very 
strange that when one wants a 
good article of any kind, he can only get it at the 
palace or of you. So, a pinch, my fat fellow ! " 

" I can commend my snuff," said the Chalcan, 
bowing very low, " only a little less than the good 
taste of the most noble Maxtla." 

While speaking, — the scene being in his pulque 
room, — he uncovered a gilded jar sitting upon the 

" Help yourself ; it is good to sneeze.'* 

Maxtla snuffed the scented drug freely, then 

rushed to the door, and through eyes misty with 

tears of pleasure looked at the sun rising over 

the mountains. A fit of sneezing seized him, at 


the end of which, a slave stood by his elbow with 
a ewer of water and a napkin. He bathed his 
face. Altogether, it was apparent that sneezing 
had been reduced to an Aztec science. 

" Elegant ! By the Sun, I feel inspired ! " 

" No doubt," responded the Chalcan. " Such 
ought to be the effect of tobacco and rose-leaves, 
moistened with dew. But tell me ; that tilmatli 
you are wearing is quite royal, — is it from the 
king ? " 

The young chief raised the folds of the mantle 
of plumajey which he was sporting for the first 
time. " From the king } No ; my tailor has just 
finished it." 

" Certainly, my lord. How dull I was ! You 
are preparing for the banquet at the palace to- 
morrow night." 

" You recollect the two thousand quills of gold 
I bid for your priestess the other evening," said 
Maxtla, paying no attention to the remark. " I 
concluded to change the investment ; they are all 
in that collar and loop." 

Xoli examined the loop. 

"A chalchuite ! What jeweler in the city 
could sell you one so rich } " 

"Not one. I bought it of Cacama. It is a 
crown jewel of Tezcuco." 

" You were lucky, my lord. But, if you will 
allow me, what became of the priestess } Saw 
you ever such dancing } " 

" You are late inquiring, Chalcan. The beggar 
was fast by starvation that night ; but you were 


nearer death. The story was told the king, — 
ah ! you turn pale. Well you may, — and he 
swore, by the fires of the temple, if the girl had 
been sold he would have flayed alive both buyer 
and seller. Hereafter we had both better look 
more closely to the law." 

" But she moved my pity as it was never moved 
before; moreover, she told me they had dis- 
charged her from the temple." 

" No matter ; the peril is over, and our hearts 
are our own. Yesterday I saw her in the train 
of the princess Tula. The *tzin cared for her. 
But speaking of the princess, — the banquet to- 
morrow night will be spicy." 

The Chalcan dropped the precious loop. Gos- 
sip that concerned the court was one of his spe- 
cial weaknesses. 

"You know," continued Maxtla, "that the *tzin 
has always been a favorite of the king's " — 

" As he always deserved to be." 

"Not so fast, Chalcan! Keep your praise. 
You ought to know that nothing is so fickle as 
fortune; that what was most popular yesterday 
may be most unpopular to-day. Hear me out. 
You also know that Iztlil', the Tezcucan, was 
down in the royal estimation quite as much as 
the 'tzin was up ; on which account, more than 
anything else, he lost his father's city." 

Xoli rested his elbow on the counter, and lis- 
tened eagerly. 

" It has been agreed on all sides for years," 
continued Maxtla, in his modulated voice, " that 


the *tzin and Tula were to be married upon her 
coming of age. No one else has presumed to pay 
her court, lest it might be an interference. Now, 
the whole thing is at an end. Iztlil', not the 'tzin, 
is the fortunate man." 

" Iztlil' ! And to-morrow night ! " 

" The palace was alive last evening as with a 
swarming of bees. Some were indignant, — all 
astonished. In fact, Xoli, I believe the *tzin had 
as many friends as the king. Several courtiers 
openly defended him, notwithstanding his fall, — 
something that, to my knowledge, never happened 
before. The upshot was, that a herald went in 
state to Iztapalapan with a decree prohibiting the 
'tzin from visiting Tienochtitlan, under any pre- 
tense, until the further pleasure of the king is 
made known to him." 

"Banished, banished! But that the noble 
Maxtla told me, I could not believe what I hear." 

" Certainly. The affair is mysterious, as were 
the means by which the result was brought about. 
Look you, Chalcan : the 'tzin loved the princess, 
and was contracted to her, and now comes this 
banishment just the day before the valley is called 
to witness her betrothal to the Tezcucan. Cer- 
tainly, it would ill become the 'tzin to be a guesl 
at such a banquet." 

"I understand," said Xoli, with a cunning 
smile. "It was to save his pride that he was 

"If to be a Chalcan is to be so stupid, I 
thank the gods for making me what I am ! " cried 


Maxtla impatiently. ** What cares the great king 
for the pride of the enemy he would humble? 
The banishment is a penalty, — it is ruin." 

There was a pause, during which the Chalcan 
hung his head. 

"Ah, Xoli! The king has changed; he used 
to be a warrior, loving warriors as the eagle loves 
its young. Now — alas ! I dare not speak. 
Time was when no envious-hearted knave could 
have made him believe that Guatamozin was 
hatching treason in his garden at Iztapalapan. 
Now, surrounded by mewling priests, he sits in 
the depths of his palace, and trembles, and, like 
a credulous child, believes everything. 'Woe is 
Tenochtitlan ! * said Mualox ; and the days 
strengthen the prophecy. But enough, — more 
than enough ! Hist, Chalcan ! What I have 
said and you listened to — yea, the mere listening 
— would suffice, if told in the right ears, to send 
us both straightway to the tigers. I have paid 
you for your snufT, and the divine sneeze. In 
retailing, recollect, I am not the manufacturer. 

"Stay a moment, most noble chief, — but a 
moment," said the Chalcan. "I have invented 
a drink which I desire you to inaugurate. If I 
may be counted a judge, it is fit for a god." 

"A judge! You.? Where is the man who 
would deny you that excellence.? Your days 
have been spent in the practice ; nay, your whole 
life has been one long, long drink. Make haste. 
I will -w^igQX pulque is chief in the compound." 


The broker went out, and directly returned, 
bearing on a waiter a Cholulan goblet full of cool 
liquor, exquisitely colored with the rich blood of 
the cactus apple. Maxtla sipped, drank, then 
swore the drink was without a rival. 

"Look you, Chalcan. They say we are in- 
debted to our heroes, our minstrels, and our 
priests, and I believe so ; but hereafter I shall go 
farther in the faith. This drink is worth a vic- 
tory, is pleasant as a song, and has all the virtues 
of a prayer. Do not laugh. I am in earnest. 
You shall be canonized with the best of them. 
To show that I am no vain boaster, you shall 
come to the banquet to-morrow, and the king 
shall thank you. Put on your best tilmatliy and 
above all else, beware that the vase holding this 
liquor is not empty when I call for it. Farewell ! " 



IP the steps of the old CO of 
Quetzal*, early in the evening 
of the banquet, went Guatamo- 
zin unattended. As the royal 
interdiction rested upon his 
coming to the capital, he was muffled in a priestly 
garb, which hid his face and person, but could 
not all disguise the stately bearing that so dis- 
tinguished him. Climbing the steps slowly, and 
without halting at the top to note the signs of the 
city, all astir with life, he crossed the azoteasy 
entered the chamber most sanctified by the pre- 
sence of the god, and before the image bowed 
awhile in prayer. Soon Mualox came in. 

" Ask anything that is not evil, O best beloved 


of Quetzal', and it shall be granted," said the 
paba solemnly, laying a hand upon the visitor's 
shoulder. " I knew you were coming ; I saw you 
on the lake. Arise, my son." 

Guatamozin stood up, and flung back his hood. 

" The house is holy, Mualox, and I have come 
to speak of the things of life that have little to do 
with religion." 

" That is not possible. Everything has to do 
with life, which has all to do with heaven. Speak 
out. This presence will keep you wise ; if your 
thoughts be of wrong, it is not likely you will 
give them speech in the very ear of Quetzal'." 

Slowly the 'tzin then said, — 

"Thanks, father. In what I have to say,. I 
will be brief, and endeavor not to forget the pre- 
sence. You love me, and I am come for counsel. 
You know how often those most discreet in the 
affairs of others are foolish in what concerns 
themselves. Long time ago you taught me the 
importance of knowledge ; how it was the divine 
secret of happiness, and stronger than a spear to 
win victories, and better in danger than a shield 
seven times quilted. Now I have come to say 
that my habits of study have brought evil upon 
me ; out of the solitude in which I was toiling to 
lay up a great knowlege, a misfortune has arisen, 
father to my ruin. My stay at home has been 
misconstrued. Enemies have said I loved books 
less than power ; they charge that in the quiet 
of my gardens I have been taking council of my 
ambition, which nothing satisfies but the throne ; 


and so they have estranged from me the love of 
the king. Here against his order, forbidden the 
city," — and as he spoke he raised his head 
proudly, — " forbidden the city, behold me, paba, 
a banished man ! " 

Mualox smiled, and grim satisfaction was in 
the smile. 

"If you seek sympathy," he said, *'the errand 
is fruitless. I have no sorrow for what you call 
your misfortune." 

"Let me understand you, father." 

" I repeat, I have no sorrow for you. Why 
should I ? I see you as you should see yourself. 
You confirm the lessons of which you complain. 
Not vainly that you wrought in solitude for know- 
ledge, which, while I knew it would make you a 
mark for even kingly envy, I also intended should 
make you superior to misfortunes and kings. 
Understand you now.^ What matters that you 
are maligned ? What is banishment ? They only 
liken you the more to Quetzal*, whose coming 
triumph, — heed me well, O 'tzin, — whose com- 
ing triumph shall be your triumph." 

The look and voice of the holy man were those 
of one with authority. 

" For this time," he continued, " and others 
like it, yet to come, I thought to arm your soul 
with a strong intelligence. Your life is to be a 
battle against evil ; fail not yourself in the begin- 
ning. Success will be equal to your wisdom and 
courage. But your story was not all told." 

The *tzin\s face flushed, and he replied, with 
some faltering, — 


" You have known and encouraged the love I 
bear the princess Tula, and counted on it as the 
means of some great fortune in store for me. 
Yet, in part at least, I am banished on that ac- 
count. O Mualox, the banquet which the king 
holds to-night is to make public the betrothal of 
Tula to Iztlir, the Tezcucan ! " 

" Well, what do you intend ?*' 

" Nothing. Had the trouble been a friend's, I 
might have advised him ; but being my own, I 
have no confidence in myself. I repose on your 
discretion and friendship." 

Mualox softened his manner, and said, plea- 
santly at first, " O 'tzin, is humanity all frailty ? 
Must chief and philosopher bow to the passion, 
like a slave or a dealer in wares ? " Suddenly he 
became serious ; his eyes shone full of the magne- 
tism he used so often and so well. " Can Guata- 
mozin find nothing higher to occupy his mind 
than a trouble bom of a silly love ? Unmanned 
by such a trifle ? Arouse ! Ponder the mightier 
interests in peril ! What is a woman, with all 
a lover's gild about her, to the nation ? '* 

" The nation ? " repeated the *tzin slowly. 

The paba looked reverently up to the idol. " I 
have withdrawn from the world, I live but for 
Quetzal' and Anahuac. Oh, generously has the 
god repaid me! He has given me to look out 
upon the future ; all that is to come affecting my 
country he has shown me." Turning to the 'tzin 
again, he said with emphasis, " I could tell mar- 
vels, — let this content you : words cannot paint 


the danger impending over our country, over Ana- 
huac, the beautiful and beloved; her existence, 
and the glory and power that make her so worthy 
love like ours, are linked to your action. Your 
fate, O 'tzin, and hers, and that of the many 
nations, are one and the same. Accept the words 
as a prophecy ; wear them in memory ; and when, 
as now, you are moved by a trifling fear or anger, 
they should and will keep you from shame and 

Both then became silent. The paba might 
have been observing the events of the future, as, 
one by one, they rose and passed before his ab- 
stracted vision. Certain it was, with the thoughts 
of the warrior there mixed an ambition no longer 
selfish, but all his country's. 

Mualox finally concluded. "The future belongs 
to the gods ; only the present is ours. Of that 
let us thinH. Admit your troubles worthy ven- 
geance: dare you tell me what you thought of 
doing ? My son, why are you here ? " 

" Does my father seek to mortify me } " 

"Would the *tzin have me encourage folly, if 
not worse ? And that in the presence of my god 
and his.?" 

"Speak plainly, Mualox." 

"So I will. Obey the king. Go not to the 
palace to-night. If the thought of giving the 
woman to another is so hard, could you endure 
the sight ? Think : if present, what could you do 
to prevent the betrothal ? " 

A savage anger flashed from the 'tzin's face. 


and he answered, " What could I ? Slay the 
Tezcucan on the step of the throne, though I 

"It would come to that. And Anahuac! 
What then of her ? " said Mualox, in a voice of 
exceeding sorrow. 

The love the warrior bore his country at that 
moment surpassed all others, and his rage passed 

" True, most true ! If it should be as you say, 
that my destiny " — 

" If ! O 'tzin, if you live ! If Anahuac lives ! 
If there are gods ! " — 

"Enough, Mualox! I know what you would 
say. Content you; I give you all faith. The 
wrong that tortures me is not altogether that the 
woman is to be given to another ; her memory I 
could pluck from my heart as a feather from my 
helm. If that were all, I could curse the fate, 
and submit; but there is more: for the sake of 
a cowardly policy I have been put to shame; 
treachery and treason have been crowned, loyalty 
and blood disgraced. Hear me, father! After 
the decree of interdiction was served upon me, I 
ventured to send a messenger to the king, and he 
was spurned from the palace. Next went the 
lord Cuitlahua, uncle of mine, and true lover of 
Anahuac; he was forbidden the mention of my 
name. I am not withdrawn from the world ; 
my pride will not down at a word ; so wronged, 
I cannot reason ; therefore I am here." 

" And the coming is a breach of duty ; the risk 


is great. Return to Iztapalapan before the mid- 
night is out. And I, — but you do not know, my 
son, what a fortune has befallen me." The paba 
smiled faintly. **I have been promoted to the 
palace; I am a councilor at the royal table." 

'* A councilor ! You, father ? " 

The good man's face grew serious again. " I 
accepted the appointment, thinking good might 
result. But, alas! the hope was vain. Monte- 
zuma, once so wise, is past counsel. He will take 
no guidance. And what a vanity ! O 'tzin, the 
asking me to the palace was itself a crime, since 
it was to make me a weapon in his hand with 
which to resist the holy Quetzal'. As though I 
could not see the design ! " 

He laughed scornfully, and then said, '* But be 
not detained, my son. What I can, I will do for 
you ; at the council-table, and elsewhere, as oppor- 
tunity may offer, I will exert my influence for 
your restoration to the city and palace. Go now. 
Farewell ; peace be with you. To-morrow I will 
send you tidings." 

Thereupon he went out of the tower, and down 
into the temple. 


A king's banquet 

\T last the evening of the royal 
banquet arrived, — theme of in- 
cessant talk and object of prepa- 
ration for two days and a night, 
out of the capital no less than in it ; for all the 
nobler classes within a convenient radius of the 
lake had been bidden, and, with them, people of 
distinction, such as successful artists, artisans, 
and merchants. 

It is not to be supposed that a king of Monte- 
zuma's subtlety in matters governmental could 
overlook the importance of the social element, or 
neglect it. Education imports a society; more 
yet, academies, such as were in Tenochtitlan for 
the culture of women, always import a refined 
and cultivated society. And such there was in 
the beautiful valley. 

My picture of the entertainment will be feeble, 


I know, and I give it rather as a suggestion of 
the reality, which was gorgeous enough to be 
interesting to any nursling even of the court of 
His Most Catholic Majesty ; for, though heathen 
in religion, Montezuma was not altogether barba- 
rian in taste ; and, sooth to say, no monarch in 
Christendom better understood the influence of 
kingliness splendidly maintained. About it, more- 
over, was all that makes chivalry adorable, — the 
dance, the feast, the wassail; brave men, fair 
women, and the majesty of royalty in state amidst 
its most absolute proofs of power. 

On such occasions it was the custom of the 
great king to throw open the palace, with all its 
accompaniments, for the delight of his guests, 
admitting them freely to aviary, menagerie, and 
garden, the latter itself spacious enough for the 
recreation of thirty thousand persons. 

The house, it must be remembered, formed a 
vast square, with patios or courtyards in the 
interior, around which the rooms were ranged. 
The part devoted to domestic uses was magnifi- 
cently furnished. Another very considerable por- 
tion was necessary to the state and high duties of 
the monarch ; such were offices for his function- 
aries, quarters for his guards, and chambers for 
the safe deposit of the archives of the Empire, 
consisting of maps, laws, decrees and proclama- 
tions, accounts and reports financial and military, 
and the accumulated trophies of campaigns and 
conquests innumerable. When we consider the 
regard in which the king was held by his people, 


amounting almost to worship, and their curiosity 
to see all that pertained to his establishment, an 
idea may be formed of what the palace and its 
appurtenances were as accessories to one of his 

Passing from the endless succession of rooms, 
the visitor might go into the garden, where the 
walks were freshly strewn with shells, the shrub- 
bery studded with colored lamps, the fountains 
all at play, and the air loaded with the perfume of 
flowers, which were an Aztec passion, and seemed 
everywhere a part of everything. 

And all this convenience and splendor was not 
wasted upon an inappreciative horde, — ferocious 
Caribs or simple children of Hispaniola. At such 
times the order requiring the wearing of nequen 
was suspended ; so that in the matter of costume 
there were no limits upon the guest, except such 
as were prescribed by his taste or condition. In 
the animated current that swept from room to 
room and from house to garden might be seen 
citizens in plain attire, and warriors arrayed in 
regalia which permitted all dazzling colors, and 
pabas hooded, surpliced, and gowned, brooding 
darkly even there, and stoled minstrels, with their 
harps, and pages, gay as butterflies, while over all 
was the beauty of the presence of lovely women. 

Yet, withal, the presence of Montezuma was 
more attractive than the calm night in the garden ; 
neither stars, nor perfumed summer airs, nor 
singing fountains, nor walks strewn with shells, 
nor chant of minstrels could keep the guests from 


the great hall where he sat in state ; so that it was 
alike the centre of all coming and all going. There 
the aged and sedate whiled away the hours in 
conversation; the young danced, laughed, and 
were happy ; and in the common joyousness none 
exceeded the beauties of the harem, transiently 
released from the jealous thraldom that made the 
palace their prison. 

From the house-tops, or from the dykes, or out 
on the water, the common people of the capital, 
in vast multitudes, witnessed the coming of the 
guests across the lake. The rivalry of the great 
lords and families was at all times extravagant in 
the matter of pomp and show ; a king's banquet, 
however, seemed its special opportunity, and the 
lake its particular field of display. The king 
Cacama, for example, left his city in a canoe of 
exquisite workmanship, pranked with pennons, 
ribbons, and garlands ; behind him, or at his right 
and left, constantly ploying and deploying, at- 
tended a flotilla of hundreds of canoes only a little 
less rich in decoration than his own, and timed in 
every movement, even that of the paddles, by the 
music of conch-shells and tambours ; yet princely 
as the turn-out was, it did not exceed that of the 
lord Cuitlahua, governor of Iztapalapan. And if 
others were inferior to them in extravagance, 
nevertheless they helped clothe the beloved sea 
with a beauty and interest scarcely to be imagined 
by people who never witnessed or read of the 
grand Venetian pageants. 

Arrived at the capital, the younger warriors 


proceeded to the palace afoot ; while the matrons 
and maids, and the older and more dignified lords, 
were borne thither in palanquins. By evening 
the whole were assembled 

About the second quarter of the night two men 
came up the great street to the palace, and made 
their way through the palanquins stationed there 
in waiting. They were guests; so their garbs 
bespoke them. One wore the gown and carried 
the harp of a minstrel ; very white locks escaped 
from his hood, and a staff was required to assist 
his enfeebled steps. The other was younger, and 
with consistent vanity sported a military costume. 
To say the truth, his extremely warlike demeanor 
lost nothing by the flash of a dauntless eye and a 
step that made the pave ring again. 

An official received them at the door, and, by 
request, conducted them to the garden. 

" This is indeed royal ! " the warrior said to the 
minstrel. " It bewilders me. Be yours the lead." 

"I know the walks as a deer his paths, or a 
bird the brake that shelters its mate. Come," 
and the voice was strangely firm for one so aged, 
— "come, let us see the company." 

Now and then they passed ladies, escorted by 
gallants, and frequently there were pauses to send 
second looks after the handsome soldier, and 
words of pity for his feeble companion. By and 
by, coming to an intersection of the walk they 
were pursuing, they were hailed, — " Stay, min- 
strel, and give us a song." 

By the door of a summer-house they saw, upon 


Stopping, a girl whose beauty was worthy the 
tribute she sought. The elder sat down upon a 
bench and replied, — 

" A song is gentle medicine for sorrows. Have 
you such ? You are very young." 

Her look of sympathy gave place to one of 

" I would I were assured that minstrelsy is your 
proper calling." 

" You doubt it ! Here is my harp : a soldier is 
known by his shield." 

" But I have heard your voice before," she per- 

" The children of Tenochtitlan, and many who 
are old now, have heard me sing." 

"But I am a Chalcan." 

"I have sung in Chalco." 

" May I ask your name ? " 

"There are many streets in the city, and on 
each they call me differently." 

The girl was still perplexed. 

" Minstrels have patrons," she said directly ; 
" who " — 

" Nay, child, this soldier here is all the friend I 

Some one then threw aside the vine that draped 
the door. While the minstrel looked to see who 
the intruder was, his inquisitor gazed at the sol- 
dier, who, on his part, saw neither of them ; he 
was making an obeisance so very low that his face 
and hand both touched the ground. 

" Does the minstrel intend to sing, Yeteve ? " 

Whose beauty was worthy the tribute 


asked Nenetzin, stepping into the light that 
flooded the walk. 

The old man bent forward on his seat. 

"Heaven's best blessing on the child of the 
king ! It should be a nobler hand than mine that 
strikes a string to one so beautiful." 

The comely princess replied, her face beaming 
with pleasure, " Verily, minstrel, much familiarity 
with song has given you courtly speech.'* 

" I have courtly friends, and only borrow their 
words. This place is fair, but to my dull fancy it 
seems that a maiden would prefer the great hall, 
unless she has a grief to indulge." 

"Oh, I have a great grief," she returned; 
"though I do borrow it as you your words.'' 

" Then you love some one who is unhappy. I 
understand. Is this child in your service.^" he 
asked, looking at Yeteve. 

"Call it mine. She loves me well enough to 
serve me." 

The minstrel struck the strings of his harp 
softly, as if commencing a mournful story. 

"I have a friend," he said, "a prince and war- 
rior, whose presence here is banned. He sits in 
his palace to-night, and is visited by thoughts such 
as make men old in their youth. He has seen 
much of life, and won fame, but is fast finding 
that glory does not sweeten misfortune, and that 
of all things ingratitude is the most bitter. His 
heart is set upon a noble woman ; and now, when 
his love is strongest, he is separated from her, and 
may not say farewell. Oh, it is not in the ear of a 


true woman that lover so unhappy could breathe 
his story in vain. What would the princess Ne- 
netzin do, if she knew a service of hers might 
soothe his great grief ? " 

Nenetzin's eyes were dewy with tears. 

"Good minstrel, I know the story; it is the 
'tzin's. Are you a friend of his } " 

"His true friend. I bring his farewell to 

"I will serve him." And, stepping to the old 
man, she laid her hand on his. " Tell me what 
to do, and what you would have." 

" Only a moment's speech with her." 

"With Tula.?" 

"A moment to say the farewell he cannot. 
Go to the palace, and tell her what I seek. I will 
follow directly. Tell her she may know me in 
the throng by these locks, whose whiteness will 
prove my sincerity and devotion. And further, I 
will twine my harp with a branch of this vine ; its 
leaves will mark me, and at the same time tell her 
that his love is green as in the day a king's smile 
sunned it into ripeness. Be quick. The moment 
comes when she cannot in honor listen to the 
message I am to speak." 

He bent over his harp again, and Nenetzin and 
Yeteve hurried away. 



!HE minstrel stayed awhile to dress 
his harp with the vine. 

" A woman would have done it 
better; they have a special cun- 
ning for such things ; yet it will 
serve the purpose. Now let us 
on ! ** he said, when the task was 

To the palace they then turned 
their steps. As they approached 
it, the walk became more crowded 
with guests. Several times the 
minstrel was petitioned to stay 
and sing, but he excused himself. 


He proceeded, looking steadily at the ground, as 
is the custom of the very aged. Amongst others, 
they met Maxtla, gay in his trappings as a parrot 
from the Great River. 

"Good minstrel," he said, " in your wanderings 
through the garden, have you seen Iztlil*, the 
Tezcucan } *' 

" I have not seen the Tezcucan. I should look 
for him in the great hall, wl^ere his bride is, rather 
than in the garden, dreaming of his bridal." 

"Well said, uncle! I infer your harp is not 
carried for show ; you can sing ! I will try you 
after a while." 

When he was gone, the minstrel spoke bit- 
terly, — 

" Beware of the thing known in the great house 
yonder as policy. A week ago the lord Maxtla 
would have scorned to be seen hunting the Tez- 
cucan, whom he hates." 

They came to a portal above which, in a niche 
of the wall, sat the Uot/^ of the house, grimly 
claiming attention and worship. Under the por- 
tal, past the guard on duty there, through many 
apartments full of objects of wonder to the stran- 
ger, they proceeded, and, at last, with a current 
of guests slowly moving in the same direction, 
reached the hall dominated by the king, where the 
minstrel thought to find the princess Tula. 

" Oh, my friend, I pray you, let me stay here a 
moment," said the warrior, abashed by dread of 
the sudden introduction to the royal presence. 
The singer heard not, but went on. 
1 A household god. 


Standing by the door, the young stranger 
looked down a hall of great depth eastwardly, 
broken by two rows of pillars supporting vast 
oaken girders, upon which rested rafters of red 
cedar. The walls were divided into panels, with 
borders broad and intricately arabesqued. A mas- 
sive bracket in the centre of each panel held the 
image of a deity, the duplicate of the idol in the 
proper sanctuary ; and from the feet of the image 
radiated long arms of wood, well carved, crooked 
upward at the elbows, and ending with shapely 
hands, clasping lanterns of aguave which emitted 
lights of every tint. In the central space, be- 
tween the rows of pillars, immense chandeliers 
dropped from the rafters, so covered with lamps 
that they looked like pyramids aglow. And arms, 
and images, and chandeliers, and even the huge 
pillars, were wreathed in garlands of cedar boughs 
and flowers, from which the air drew a redolence 
as of morning in a garden. 

Through all these splendors, the gaze of the 
visitor sped to the further end of the hall, and 
there stayed as charmed. He saw a stage, bright 
with crimson carpeting, rising three steps above 
the floor, and extending from wall to wall ; and on 
that, covered with green plumaje^ a dais, on 
which, in a chair or throne glittering with bur- 
nished gold, the king sat. Above him spread a 
canopy fashioned like a broad sunshade, the staff 
resting on the floor behind the throne, sustained 
by two full-armed warriors, who, while motionless 
as statues, were yet vigilant as sentinels. Around 


the dais, their costumes and personal decorations 
sharing the monarch's splendor, were collected 
his queens, and their children, and all who mig-ht 
claim connection with the royal family. The light 
shone about them as the noonday, so full that all 
that portion of the hall seemed bursting with sun- 
shine. Never satin richer than the emerald cloth 
of the canopy, inwoven, as it was, with feathers 
of humming-birds ! Never sheen of stars, to the 
eyes of the wondering stranger, sharper than the 
glinting of the jewels with which it was fringed ! 

And the king appeared in happier mood than 
common, though the deep, serious look which 
always accompanies a great care came often to 
his face. He had intervals of silence also ; yet 
his shrewdest guests were not permitted to see 
that he did not enjoy their enjoyment. 

His queens were seated at his left, Tecalco 
deeply troubled, sometimes tearful, and Acatlan 
cold and distant ; for, in thought of her own child, 
the beautiful Nenetzin, she trembled before the 
remorseless policy. 

And Tula, next to the king the recipient of 
attention, sat in front of her mother, never more 
queenly, never so unhappy. Compliments came 
to her, and congratulations, given in courtly style ; 
minstrels extolled her grace and beauty, and the 
prowess and martial qualities of the high-bom 
Tezcucan ; and priest and warrior laid their hom- 
age at her feet. Yet her demeanor was not that 
of the glad young bride ; she never smiled, and 
her eyes, commonly so lustrous, were dim and 


hopeless ; her thoughts were with her heart, 
across the lake with the banished 'tzin. 

As may be conjectured, it was no easy game to 
steal her from place so conspicuous ; nevertheless, 
Nenetzin awaited the opportunity. 

It happened that Maxtla was quite as anxious 
to get the monarch's ear for the benefit of his 
friend, the Chalcan, — in fact, for the introduc- 
tion of the latter's newly invented drink. Expe- 
rience taught the chief when the felicitous mo- 
ment arrived. He had then but to say the word : 
a page was sent, the liquor brought. Montezuma 
sipped, smiled, quaffed deeper, and was delighted. 

"There is nothing like it ! " he said. " Bring 
goblets for my friends, and fill up again ! " 

All the lordly personages about him had then 
to follow his example, — to drink and approve. 
At the end, Xoli was summoned. 

Nenetzin saw the chance, and said, " O Tula, 
such a song as we have heard ! It was sweeter 
than that of the bird that wakes us in the morn- 
ing, sweeter than all the flutes in the hall." 

" And the singer, — who was he .^ '* 

Neither Nenetzin nor Yeteve could tell his 

"He charmed us so," said the former, "that 
we thought only of taking you to hear him. 
Come, go with us. There never was such music 
or musician." 

And the three came down from the platform 
unobserved by the king. When the minstrel's 
message was delivered, then was shown how well 


the Tezcucan had spoken when he said of the 
royal children, "They are all beautiful, but only 
one is fitted to be a warrior's wife." 

" Let us see the man," said Tula. " How may 
we know him, Nenetzin ? " 

And they went about eagerly looking for the 
singer with the gray locks and the vine-wreathed 
harp. They found him at last about midway the 
hall, leaning on his staff, a solitary amidst the 
throng. No one thought of asking him for a 
song ; he was too old, too like one come from a 
tomb with unfashionable stories. 

" Father," said Tula, " we claim your service. 
You look weary, yet you must know the ancient 
chants, which, though I would not like to say it 
everywhere, please me best. Will you sing ? " 

He raised his head, and looked at her; she 
started. Something she saw in his eyes that had 
escaped her friends. 

" A song from me ! " he replied, as if aston- 
ished. " No, it cannot be. I have known some 
gentle hearts, and studied them to remember ; 
but long since they went to dust. You do not 
know me. Imagining you discerned of what I 
was thinking, you were moved ; you only pitied 
me, here so desolate." 

As he talked, she recovered her composure. 

"Will you sing for me, father.^" she agam 

" Oh, willingly ! My memory is not so good as 
it used to be ; yet one song, at least, I will give 
you from the numberless ills that crowd it." 


He looked slowly and tremulously around at 
the guests who had followed her, or stopped, as 
they were passing, to hear the conversation. 

" As you say," he then continued, " I am old 
and feeble, and it is wearisome to stand here; 
besides, my theme will be sad, and such as should 
be heard in quiet. Time was when my harp had 
honor, — to me it seems but yesterday ; but now 
— enough ! Here it were not well that my voice 
should be heard." 

She caught his meaning, and her whole face 
kindled ; but Nenetzin spoke first. 

" Oh, yes ; let us to the garden ! '* 

The minstrel bowed reverently. As they 
started, a woman, who had been listening, said, 
" Surely, the noble Tula is not going ! The man 
is a dotard ; he cannot sing; he is palsied." 

But tl^ey proceeded, and through the crowd 
and out of the hall guided the trembling minstrel. 
Coming to a passage that seemed to be deserted, 
they turned into it, and Nenetzin, at Tula's re- 
quest, went back to the king. Then a change 
came over the good man ; his stooping left him, 
his step became firm, and, placing himself in 
front, he said, in a deep, strong voice, — 

"It is mine to lead now. I remember these 
halls. Once again, O Tula, let me lead you here, 
as I have a thousand times in childhood." 

And to a chamber overlooking the garden, by 
the hand he led her, followed by Yeteve, sobbing 
like a child. A dim light from the lamps without 
disclosed the walls hung with trophies captured 


in wars with the surrounding tribes and nations. 
Where the rays were strongest, he stopped, and 
removed the hood, and said earnestly, — 

" Against the king'g command, and loving you 
better than life, O Tula, Guatamozin has come to 
say farewell." 

There was a great silence; each heard the 
beating of the other's heart. 

" You have passed from me," he continued, 
** and I send my grief after you. I look into your 
face, and see fade our youth, our hopes, and our 
love, and all the past that bore it relation. The 
days of pleasantness are ended ; the spring that 
fed the running brook is dry. O Tula, dear one, 
the bird that made us such sweet music is song- 
less forever ! " 

Her anguish was too deep for the comfort of 
words or tears. Closer he clasped her hand. 

" Oh, that power should be so faithless ! Here 
are banners that I have taken. Yonder is a 
shield of a king of Michuaca whom I slew. I 
well remember the day. Montezuma led the 
army ; the fight was hard, the peril great ; and 
after I struck the blow, he said I had saved his 
life, and vowed me boundless love and a splendid 
reward. What a passion the field of fighting 
men was! And yet there was another always 
greater. I had dwelt in the palace, and learned 
that in the smile of the noble Tula there was to 
my life what the sunshine is to the flower." 

He faltered, then continued brokenly, — 

" He had honors, palaces, provinces, and crowns 


to bestow; but witness, O gods, whose sacred 
duty it is to punish ingratitude, — witness that 
I cared more to call Tula wife than for all the 
multitude of his princeliest gifts ! " 

And now fast ran the tears of the princess, 
through sorrow rising to full womanhood, while 
the murky chamber echoed with the sobs of Ye- 
teve. If the ghost of the barbarian king yet 
cared for the shield he died defending, if it were 
there present, seeing and hearing, its revenge 
was perfect. 

" If Guatamozin — so dear to me now, so dear 
always — will overlook the womanly selfishness 
that could find a pleasure in his grief, I will prove 
that he has not loved unworthily. You have 
asked nothing of me, nor urged any counsel, and 
I thank you for the moderation. I thank you, 
also, that you have spoken as if this sorrow were 
not yours more than mine. Most of all, O *tzin, I 
thank you for not accusing me. Need I say how 
I hate the Tezcucan.? or that I am given away 
against my will ? I am to go as a price, as so 
much cocoa, in purchase of the fealty of a wretch 
who would league with Mictlan to humble my 
father. I am a weak woman, without tribes or 
banner, and therefore the wrong is put upon me. 
But have I no power.?" And, trembling with 
the strong purpose, she laid her hand upon his 
breast. "Wife will I never be except of Gua- 
tamozin. I am the daughter of a king. My 
father, at least, should know me. He may sell 
me, but, thank the holy gods, I am the keeper of 


my own life. And what would life be with the 
base Tezcucan for my master ? Royal power in 
a palace of pearl and gold would not make it 
worth the keeping. O 'tzin, you never threw a 
worthless leaf upon the lake more carelessly than 
I would then fling this poor body there ! " 

Closer to his heart he pressed the hand on his 

" To you, to you, O Tula, be the one blessing 
greater than all others which the gods keep back 
in the Sun! So only can you be rewarded. I 
take your words as an oath. Keep them, only 
keep them, and I will win for you all that can be 
won by man. What a time is coming " — 

Just then a joyous cry and a burst of laughter 
from the garden interrupted his passionate speech, 
and recalled him to himself and the present, — to 
the present, which was not to be satisfied with 
lovers' rhapsodies. And so he said, when next 
he spoke, — 

"You have answered my most jealous wish. 
Go back now; make no objection to the Tezcu- 
can : the betrothal is not the bridal. The king 
and Iztlir cannot abide together in peace. I 
know them." 

And sinking his voice, he added, "Your hand 
is on my heart, and by its beating you cannot fail 
to know how full it is of love. Take my blessing 
to strengthen you. Farewell. I will return to 
my gardens and dreams.*' 

" To dreams ! And with such a storm coming 
upon Anahuac ! " said Tula. " No, no ; to dream 
is mine." 


Up, clear to his vision, rose the destiny prophe- 
sied for him by Mualox. As he pondered it, she 
said, tearfully, — 

"I love my father, and he is blind or mad. 
Now is his peril greatest, now most he needs 
friendship and help. O *tzin, leave him not, — I 
conjure you by his past kindness! Remember 
I am his child" 

Thereupon he dropped her hand, and walked 
the floor, while the banners and the shields upon 
the walls, and the mute glory they perpetuated, 
whispered of the wrong and shame he was endur- 
ing. When he answered, she knew how great the 
struggle had been, and that the end was scarcely 
a victory. 

*' You have asked that of me, my beloved, which 
is a sore trial," he said. " I will not deny that the 
great love I bore your father is disturbed by bit- 
terness. Think how excessive my injury is, — I 
who revered as a son, and have already put myself 
in death's way for him. In the halls, and out in 
the gardens, my name has been a jest to-nigbt. 
And how the Tezcucan has exulted ! It is hard 
for the sufferer to love his wrong-doer, — oh, so 
hard ! But this I will, and as an oath take the 
promise : as long as the king acts for Anahuac, 
not imperiling her safety or glory, so long will I 
uphold him ; this, O Tula, from love of country, 
and nothing more ! " 

And as the future was veiled against the woman 
and dutiful child, she replied simply, " I accept the 
oath. Now lead me hence." 

2o8 THE Fair god 

He took her hand again, and said, " In peril of 
life I came to say farewell forever; but I will 
leave a kiss upon your forehead, and plant its 
memory in your heart, and some day come again 
to claim you mine." 

And he put his arm around her, and left the 
kiss on her forehead, and, as the ancient he 
entered, conducted the unhappy princess from 
the chamber of banners back to the hall of be- 


F you have there anything for laugh- 
ter, Maxtla, I bid you welcome," 
said th£ king, his guests around 

And the young chief knelt on 
^the step before the throne, and 
answered with mock solemnity, " Your servant, O 
king, knows your great love of minstrelsy, and how 
it delights you to make rich the keeper of a harp 
who sings a good song well. I have taken one 
who bears him like a noble singer, and has age 
to warrant his experience." 

"Call you that the man.?" asked the king, 
pointing to Guatamozin. 
"He is the man." 

The monarch laughed, and all the guests listen- 
ing laughed. 

Now, minstrels were common on all festive oc- 
casions ; indeed, an Aztec banquet was no more 


perfect without them than without guests : but it 
was seldom the royal halls were graced by one so 
very aged ; so that the bent form and gray locks, 
that at other places and times would have insured 
safety and respect, now excited derision. The 
men thought his presence there presumptuous, 
the women laughed at him as a dotard. In brief, 
the 'tzin's peril was very great. 

He seemed, however, the picture of aged in- 
nocence, and stood -before the throne, his head 
bowed, his face shaded by the hood, leaning hum- 
bly on his staff, and clasping the harp close to his 
breast, the vines yet about it. So well did he 
observe his disguise, that none there, save Tula 
and Yeteve, might dream that the hood and dark 
gown concealed the bolde'St warrior in Tenochti- 
tlan. The face of the priestess was turned away ; 
but the princess sat a calm witness of the scene ; 
either she had too much pride to betray her soli- 
citude, or a confidence in his address so absolute 
that she felt none. 

"He is none of ours,*' said the king, when he 
had several times scanned the minstrel. " If the 
palace ever knew him, it was in the days of 
Axaya', from whose tomb he seems to have 

"As I came in from the garden, I met him 
going out," said Maxtla, in explanation. "I could 
not bear that my master should lose such a pro- 
mise of song. Besides, I have heard the veterans 
in service often say that the ancient chants were 
the best, and I thought it a good time to test the 


The gray courtiers frowned, and the king 
laughed again. 

"My minstrel here represented that old time 
so well," continued Maxtla, "that at first I was 
full of reverence ; therefore I besought him to 
come, and before you, O king, sing the chants 
that used to charm your mighty father. I thought 
it no dishonor for him to compete with the singers 
now in favor, they giving us something of the pre- 
sent time. He declined in courtliest style ; say- 
ing that, though his voice was good, he was too 
old, and might shame the ancient minstrelsy; 
and that, from what he had heard, my master 
delighted only in things of modem invention. A 
javelin in the hand of a sentinel ended the argu- 
ment, and he finally consented. Wherefore, O 
king, I claim him captive, to whom, if it be your 
royal pleasure, I offer liberty, if he will sing in 
competition before this noble company." 

What sport could be more royal than such 
poetic contest, — the old reign against the new ? 
Montezuma welcomed the idea. . 

"The condition is reasonable," he said. "Is 
there a minstrel in the valley to call it other- 
wise ? " 

In a tone scarcely audible, though all were si- 
lent that they might hear, the 'tzin answered, — 

" Obedience was the first lesson of every min- 
strel of the old time ; but as the master we served 
loved us as his children, we never had occasion to 
sing for the purchase of our liberty. And more, — 
the capture of a harmless singer, though he were 


not aged as your poor slave, O king, was not 
deemed so brave a deed as to be rewarded by our 
master's smile." 

The speech, though feebly spoken, struck both 
the king and his chief. 

" Well done, uncle ! " said the former, laughing. 
" And since you have tongue so sharp, we remove 
the condition " — 

"Thanks, many thanks, most mighty king! 
May the gods mete you nothing but good! I 
will depart." And the *tzin stooped till his harp 
struck the floor. 

The monarch waved his hand. "Stay. I 
merely spoke of the condition that made your 
liberty depend upon your song. Go, some of you, 
and call my singers." A courtier hurried away, 
then the king added, "It shall be well for him 
who best strikes the strings. I promise a prize 
that shall raise him above trouble, and make his 
life what a poet's ought to be." 

Guatamozin advanced, and knelt on the step 
from which Maxtla had risen, and said, his voice 
sounding tremulous with age and infirmity, — 

" If the great king will deign to heed his ser- 
vant again, — I am old and weak. There was a 
time when I would have rejoiced to hear a prize 
so princely offered in such a trial But that was 
many, many summers ago. And this afternoon, 
in my hut by the lake-shore, when I took my 
harp, all covered with dust, from the shelf where 
it had so long lain untouched and neglected, and 
wreathed it with this fresh vine, thinking a gay 


dress might give it the appearance of use, and 
myself a deceitful likeness to the minstrel I once 
was, alas ! I did not think of my trembling hand 
and my shattered memory, or of trial like this. I 
only knew that a singer, however humble, was 
privileged at your banquet, and that the privi- 
lege was a custom <rf the monarchs now in their 
halls in the Sun, — true, kingly men, who, at time 
like this, would have put gold in my hand, and 
bade me arise, and go in peace. Is Montezuma 
more careless of his glory ? Will he compel my 
song, and dishonor my gray hair, that I may go 
abroad in Tenochtitlan and tell the story.? In 
pity, O king, suffer me to depart." 

The courtiers murmured, and even Maxtla re- 
lented, but the king said, " Good uncle, you excite 
my curiosity the more. If your common speech 
have in it such a vein of poetry, what must the 
poetry he? And then, does not your obstinacy 
outmeasure my cruelty.? Get ready, I hold the 
fortune. Win it, and I am no king if it be not 

The interest of the bystanders now exceeded 
their pity. It was novel to find one refusing re- 
ward so rich, when the followers of his art were 
accustomed to gratify an audience, even one lis- 
tener, upon request. 

And, seeing that escape from the trial was im- 
possible, the 'tzin arose, resolved to act boldly. 
Minstrelsy, as practiced by the Aztecs, it must 
be remembered, was not singing so much as a 
form of chanting, accompanied by rhythmical 


touches of the lyre or harp, — of all kinds of 
choral music the most primitive. This he had 
practiced, but in the solitude of his study. The 
people present knew the 'tzin Guatamo, supposed 
to be in his palace across the lake, as soldier, 
scholar, and prince, but not as poet or singer of 
heroic tales. So that confident minstrelsy was 
now but another, if not a surer, disguise. And 
the eyes of the princess Tula shining upon him 
calmly and steadily, he said, his voice this time 
trembling with suppressed wrath, — 

" Be it so, O king ! Let the singers come, — 
let them come. Your slave will fancy himself 
before the great Axaya' or your father, not less 
royal. He will forget his age, and put his trust 
in the god whose story he will sing." 

Then other amusements were abandoned, and, 
intelligence of the trial flying far and fast, lords 
and ladies, soldiers and priests crowded about the 
throne and filled the hall. That any power of 
song could belong to one so old and unknown 
was incredible. 

"He is a provincial, — the musician of one of 
the hamlets,*' said a courtier derisively. 

"Yes," sneered another, "he will tell how the 
flood came, and drowned the harvest in his neigh- 

"Or," ventured a third, "how a ravenous vul- 
ture once descended from the hills, and carried 
off his pet rabbit." 

By and by the royal minstrels came, — sleek, 
comely men, wearing long stoles fringed with 


gold, and having harps inlaid with pearl, and 
strung with silver wires. With scarce. a glance at 
their humble competitor, they ranged themselves 
before the monarch. 

The trial began. One after another, the favor- 
ites were called upon. The first sang of love, 
the next of his mistress, the third of Lake Tez- 
cuco, the fourth of Montezuma, his power, wisdom, 
and glory. Before all were through, the patience 
of the king and crowd was exhausted. The pabas 
wanted something touching religion, the soldiers 
something heroic and resounding with war; and 
all waited for the stranger, as men listening to a 
story wait for the laughter it may chance to ex- 
cite. How were they surprised ! Before the wo- 
manly tones of the last singer ceased, the old 
man dropped his staff, and, lifting his harp against 
his breast, struck its chords, and in a voice clear 
and vibratory as the blast of a shell, a voice that 
filled the whole hall, and startled maid and king 
alike, began his chant. 


Beloved of the Sun ! Mother of the 

Brave ! Azatlan, the North-bom 1 Heard be thou 

In my far launched voice I I sing to thy 

Listening children of thee and Heaven. 

Vale in the Sun, where dwell the Gods I Sum of 

The beautiful art thou I Thy forests are 

Flowering trees ; of crystal and gold thy 

Mountains ; and liquid light are thy rivers 

Flowing, all murmurous with songs, over 

Beds of stars. O Vale of Gods, the summery 

Sheen that flecks Earth's seas, and kisses its mountains, 

And fairly floods its plains, we know is of thee, — 


A sign sent us from afar, that we may 
Feebly learn how beautiful is Heaven ! 

The singer rested a moment ; then, looking in 
the eyes of the king, with a rising voice, he con- 
tinued, — 

Richest hall in all the Vale is Quetzal's — 

At that name Montezuma started The min- 
strel noted well the sign. 

O none so fair as Quetzal's ! The winds that 
Play among its silver columns are Love's 
Light laughter, while of Love is all the air 
About From its orient porch the young 
Mornings glean the glory with which they rise 
On earth. 

First God and fairest was Quetzal'. 
As him O none so full of holiness, 
And by none were men so lov'd ! Sat he always 
In his hall, in deity roll'd, watching 
Humanity, its genius, and its struggles 
Upward. But most he watch'd its wars, — no hero 
Fell but he call'd the wand'ring soul in love 
To rest with him forever. 

Sat he once 
Thus watching, and where least expected, in 
The far North, by stormy Winter rul'd, up 
From the snows he saw a Nation rise. Shook 
Their bolts, glistened their shields, flashed the 
Light of their fierce eyes. A king, in wolf-skin 
Girt, pointed Southward, and up the hills, through 
The air, to the Sun, flew the name — Azatlan. 
Then march'd they; by day and night they march'd, — march *d 
Ever South, across the desert, up the 
Mountains, down the mountains ; leaping rivers, 
Smiting foes, taking cities, — thus they march'd ; 
Thus, a cloud of eagles, roll'd they from the 
North ; thus on the South they fell, as autumn 
Frosts upon the fruits of summer fall. 


And now the priests were glad, — the singer 
sung of Heaven ; and the warriors were aroused, 
— his voice was like a battle-cry, and the theme 
was the proud tradition of the conquering march 
of their fathers from the distant North. Sitting 
with clasped hands and drooped head, the king 
followed the chant, like one listening to an oracle. 
Yet stronger grew the minstrel's voice, — 

Many years of toil, and still the Nation march'd ; 
Still Southward strode the king ; still Sunward rose 
The cry of Azatlan / Atatlan ! And 
Warmer, truer, brighter grew the human 
Love of Quetzal'. He saw them reach a lake ; 
As dew its waves were clear ; like lover's breath 
The wind flew o'er it. *T was in the clime of 
Starry nights, — the clime of orange-groves and 
Plumy palms. 

Then Quetzal' from his watching 
Rose. Aside he flung his sunly symbols. 
Like a falling star, from the Vale of Gods 
He dropp'd, like a falling star shot through the 
Shoreless space ; like a golden morning reach'd 
The earth, ~ reach'd the lake. Then stay'd the Nation's 
March. Still Sunward rose the cry, but Southward 
Strode the king no more. 

In his roomy heart, in 
The chambers of its love, Quetzal' took the 
Nation. He swore its kings should be his sons, -^ 
They should conquer, by the Sun, he swore 1 In 
The laughing Lake he bade them build ; and up 
Sprang Tenochtitlan, of the human love 
Of Quetzal' child ; up rose its fire-lit towers. 
Outspread its piles, outstretched its streets 
Of stone and wave. And as the city grew, 
Still stronger grew the love of Quetzal'. 

Is the Empire. To the shields again, O 


Azatlan 1 *T was thus he spoke ; and feathered 

Crest and oaken spear, the same that from the 

North came conquering, through the valley, 

On a wave of war went swiftly floating. 

Down before the flaming shields fell all the 

Neighboring tribes ; open flew the cities* gates ; 

Fighting kings gave up their crowns ; from the hills 

The Chichimecan fled ; on temple towers 

The Toltec fires to scattering ashes 

Died. Like a scourge upon the city, like 

A fire across the plain, like storms adown 

The mountain, — such was Azatlan that day 

It went to battle I Like a monarch 'mid 

His people, like a god amid the Heavens, 

O such was Azatlan, victor from the 

Battle, the Empire in its hand I 

At this point the excitement of the audience 
rose into interruption : they clapped their hands 
and stamped; some shouted As the strong 
voice rolled the grand story on, even the king's 
dread of the god disappeared ; and had the 'tzin 
concluded then, the prize had certainly been his. 
But when the silence was restored, he resumed 
the attitude so proper to his disguise, and, sinking 
his voice and changing the measure of the chant, 
solemnly proceeded, — 

As the river runneth ever, like the river ran the love of 
Quetzal'. The clime grew softer, and the Vale fairer. To 

weave, and trade, 
And sow, and build, he taught, with countless other ways of 

peace. He broke 
The seals of knowledge, and unveiled the mystic paths of wisdom ; 
Gathered gold from the earth, and jewels from the streams ; and 

Peace, as terrible in war, became Azatlan. Only one more 
Blessing, — a religion sounding of a quiet heaven and a 
Godly love, — this only wanted Azatlan. And, alas, for the 
Sunly Quetzal' I He built a temple, with a single tower, a 
Temple over many chambers.*' 

The monarch' s face changed visibly 


Slowly the 'tzin repeated the last sentence, and 
under his gaze the monarch's face changed visibly. 

Worship he asked, and offerings, 
And sacrifices, not of captives, heart-broken and complaining, 
But of blooming flowers, and ripened fruits, emblems of love, 

and peace. 
And beauty. Alas, for the gentle Quetzal' I Cold grew the 

Lov'd so well. A little while they worshiped ; then, as bees go 

More to a withered flower, they forsook his shrine, and mock'd 

Image. His love, longest lingering, went down at last, but 

Went, as the brook, drop by drop, runs dry in the drought of a 

Summer. Wrath 'rose instead. Down in a chamber below the 

A chamber full of gold and unveiled splendor, beneath the 

Lake that 
Long had ceased its laughing, thither went the god, and on the 

On the marble and the gold, he wrote — 

The improvisation, if such it was, now wrought 
its full effect upon Montezuma, who saw the reci- 
tal coming nearer and nearer to the dread mys- 
teries of the golden chamber in the old Cd. At 
the beginning of the last sentence, the blood left 
his face, and he leaned forward as if to check the 
speech, at the same time some master influence 
held him wordless. His look was that of one see- 
ing a vision. The vagaries of a mind shaken by 
days and nights of trouble are wonderful ; some- 
times they are fearful. How easy for his distem- 
pered fancy to change the minstrel, with his white 
locks and venerable countenance, into a servant 


of Quetzal*, sent by the god to confirm the in- 
terpretation and prophecies of his other servant 
Mualox. At the last word, he arose, and, with 
an imperial gesture, cried, — 

" Peace — enough ! " 

Then his utterance failed him, — another vision 
seemed to fix his gaze. The audience, thrilling 
with fear, turned to see what he saw, and heard 
a commotion, which, from the further end of the 
hall, drew slowly near the throne, and ceased not 
until Mualox, in his sacrificial robes, knelt upon 
the step in the minstrel's place. Montezuma 
dropped into his throne, and, covering his eyes 
with his hands, said faintly, — 

" Evil betides me, father, evil betides me ! But 
I am a king. Speak what you can ! " 

Mualox prostrated himself until his white hair 
covered his master's feet. 

" Again, O king, your servant comes speaking 
for his god." 

" For the god, Mualox ? " 

The hall became silent as a tomb. 

" I come," the holy man continued, " to tell the 
king that Quetzal' has landed, this time on the 
seashore in Cempoalla. At set of sun his power 
was collected on the beach. Summon all your 
wisdom, — the end is at hand." 

All present and hearing listened awe-struck. 
Of the warriors, not one, however battle-tried, but 
trembled with undefined terror. And who may 
accuse them ? The weakness was from fear of a 
supposed god ; their heathen souls, after the man- 


ner of the Christian, asked, Who may war against 
Heaven ? 

" Rise, Mualox ! You love me ; I have no bet- 
ter servant," said the king with dignity, but so 
sadly that even the prophet's heart was touched. 
" It is not for me to say if your news be good or 
evil. All things, even my Empire, are in the care 
of the gods. To-morrow I will hold a council to 
determine how this visit may be best met." With 
a mighty effort he freed his spirit of the influence 
of the untimely visitation, and said, with a show 
of unconcern, " Leave the morrow to whom it be- 
longs, my children. Let us now to the ceremony 
which was to crown the night. Come forward, 
son of 'Hualpilli ! Room for the lord Iztlil', my 

Tula looked down, and the queen Tecalco 
bowed her face upon the shoulder of the queen 
Acatlan ; and immediately, all differences lost in 
loving loyalty, the caciques and chiefs gathered 
before him, — a nobility as true and chivalric as 
ever fought beneath an infidel banner. 

And they waited, but the Tezcucan came not. 

" Go, Maxtla. Seek the lord Iztlil', and bring 
him to my presence." 

Through the palace and through the gardens 
they sought the recreant lover. And the silence 
of the waiting in the great hall was painful. 
Guest looked in the face of guest, mute, yet ask- 
ing much. The prince Cacama whispered to the 
prince Cuitlahua, " It is a happy interference of 
the gods ! " 


Tecalco wept on, but not from sorrow, and the 
eyes of the devoted princess were lustrous for the 
first time ; hope had come back to the darkened 

And the monarch said little, and ere long re- 
tired. A great portion of the company, despite 
his injunction, speedily followed his example, leav- 
ing the younger guests, with what humor they 
could command, to continue the revel till morning. 

Next day at noon couriers from Cempoalla con- 
firmed the announcement of Mualox. Cortes had 
indeed landed ; and that Good Friday was the 
last of the perfect glory of Anahuac. 

Poor king ! Not long now until I may sing for 
thee the lamentation of the Gothic Roderick, 
whose story is but little less melancholy than 

** He looked for the brave captains that led the hosts of Spain, 
But all were fled, except the dead, — and who could count the 

slain ? 
Where'er his eye could wander all bloody was the plain ; 
And while thus he said the tears he shed ran down his cheeks 

like rain. 

'* Last night I was the king of Spain : to-day no king am I. 
Last night fair castles held my train : to-night where shall I 

Last night a hundred pages did serve me on the knee, 
To-night not one I call my own, — not one pertains to me.*' * 

^ The fifth and sixth verses of the famous Spanish ballad* 
"The Lamentation of Don Roderic." The translation I have 
borrowed from Lockhart's Spanish Ballads. — Tr. 



HE 'tzin*s companion the night of 
the banquet, as the reader has 
no doubt anticipated, was Hual- 
pa, the Tihuancan. To an ad- 
venture of his, more luckless than 
■ his friend's, I now turn. 
It will be remembered that the 'tzin left 
him at the door of the great hall. In a 
strange scene, without a guide, it was natural for 
him to be ill at ease ; light-hearted and fearless, 
however, he strolled leisurely about, at one place 
stopping to hear a minstrel, at another to observe 
a dance, and all the time half confused by the maze 
and splendor of all he beheld. In such awe stood 
he of the monarch, that he gave the throne a 
wide margin, contented from a distance to view 
the accustomed interchanges of courtesy between 
the guests and their master. Finding, at last, 


that he could not break through the bashfulness 
acquired in his solitary life among the hills, and 
imitate the ease and nonchalance of those bom, as 
it were, to the lordliness of the hour, he left the 
house, and once more sought the retiracy of the 
gardens. Out of doors, beneath the stars, with 
the fresh air in his nostrils, he felt at home again, 
the whilom hunter, ready for any emprise. 

As to the walk he should follow he had no 
choice, for in every direction he heard laughter, 
music, and conversation ; everywhere were flowers 
and the glow of lamps. Merest chance put him 
in a path that led to the neighborhood of the 

Since the night shut in, — be it said in a whis- 
per, — a memory of wonderful brightness had 
taken possession of his mind. Nenetzin's face as 
he saw it laughing in the door of the kiosk when 
Yeteve called the 'tzin for a song, he thought 
outshone the lamplight, the flowers, and every- 
thing most beautiful about his path ; her eyes were 
as stars, rivaling the insensate ones in the mead 
above him. He remembered them, too, as all the 
brighter for the tears through which they had 
looked down, — alas ! not on him, but upon his 
reverend comrade. If Hualpa was not in love, he 
was, at least, borrowing wings for a flight of that 

Indulging the delicious revery, he came upon 
some nobles, conversing, and quite blocking up 
the way, though going in his direction. He hesi- 
tated ; but, considering that, as a guest, the 


freedom of the garden belonged equally to him, 
he proceeded, and became a listener. 

" People call him a warrior. They know no- 
thing of what makes a warrior ; they mistake good 
fortune, or what the traders in the tianguez call 
luck, for skill. Take his conduct at the combat of 
Quetzal' as an example ; say he threw his arrows 
well: yet it was a cowardly war. How much 
braver to grasp the maquahuitl, and rush to blows ! 
That requires manhood, strength, skill. To stand 
back, and kill with a chance arrow, — a woman 
could do as much." 

The 'tzin was the subject of discussion, and the 
voice that of IztliF, the Tezcucan. Hualpa moved 
closer to the party. 

"I thought his course in that combat good," 
said a stranger; "it gave him opportunities not 
otherwise to be had. That he did not join the 
assault cannot be urged against his courage. Had 
you, my lord Iztlil', fallen like the Otompan, he 
would have been left alone to fight the challengers. 
A fool would have seen the risk ; a coward would 
not have courted it." 

"That argument," replied Iztlil', discrediting 
him with too much shrewdness. By the gods, he 
never doubted the result, — not he! He knew 
the Tlascalans would never pass my shield; he 
knew the victory was mine, two against me as 
there were. A prince of Tezcuco was never con- 

The spirit of the hunter was fast rising ; yet he 
followed, listening. 


"And, my friends," the Tezcucan continued, 
" who better judged the conduct of the combatants 
that day than the king ? See the result. To-night 
I take from the faint heart his bride, the woman 
he has loved from boyhood. Then this banquet. 
In whose honor is it ? What does it celebrate ? 
There is a prize to be awarded, — the prize of 
courage and skill ; and who gets it ? And further, 
of the nobles and chiefs of the valley, but one is 
absent, — he whose prudence exceeds his valor/* 

In such strain the Tezcucan proceeded And 
Hualpa, fully aroused, pushed through the com- 
pany to the speaker, but so quietly that those who 
observed him asked no questions. Assured that 
the *tzin must have friends present, he waited for 
some one to take up his cause. His own impulse 
was restrained by his great dread of the king, 
whose gardens he knew were not fighting-grounds 
at any time or in any quarrel. But, as the boast- 
ful prince continued, the resolve to punish him 
took definite form with the Tihuancan, — to such 
degree had his admiration for the 'tzin already 
risen ! Gradually the auditors dropped behind or 
disappeared ; finally but one remained, — a middle- 
aged, portly noble, whose demeanor was not of 
the kind to shake the resolution taken. 

Hualpa made his first advance close by the 
eastern gate of the garden, to which point he held 
himself in check lest the want of arms should 
prove an apology for refusing the fight. 

" Will the lord Iztlir stop ? " he said, laying his 
hand on the Tezcucan*s arm. 


" I do not know you," was the answer. 

The sleek courtier also stopped, and stared 

" You do not know me ! I will mend my for- 
tune in that respect," returned the hunter, mildly. 
" I have heard what you said so ungraciously of 
my friend and comrade," — the last word he em- 
phasized strongly, — " Guatamozin." Then he 
repeated the offensive words as correctly as if he 
had been a practised herald, and concluded, " Now, 
you know the 'tzin cannot be here to-night ; you 
also know the reason; but, for him and in his 
place, I say, prince though you are, you have 
basely slandered an absent enemy." 

"Who are you.^" asked the Tezcucan, sur- 

"The comrade of Guatamozin, here to take up 
his quarrel." 

"You challenge me.?" said Iztlil', in disdain. 

" Does a prince of Tezcuco, son of 'Hualpilli, 
require a blow ? Take it then." 

The blow was given. 

" See ! Do I not bring you princely blood ? " 
And, in his turn, Hualpa laughed scornfully. 

The Tezcucan was almost choked with rage. 
" This to me, — to me, — a prince and warrior ! " 
he cried. 

A danger not considered by the rash hunter 
now offered itself. An outcry would bring down 
the guard; and, in the event of his arrest, the 
united representations of Iztlil' and his friend 
would be sufficient to have him sent forthwith 


to the tigers. The pride of the prince saved 

" Have a care, — *t is an assassin ! I will call 
the guard at the gate ! " said the courtier, alarmed. 

" Call them not, call them not ! I am equal to 
my own revenge. Oh, for a spear or knife, — 
anything to kill ! " 

"Will you hear me, — a word?" the htmter 
said. " I am without arms also ; but they can be 

" The arms, the arms ! " cried IztliF passionately. 

" We can make the sentinels at the gate clever 
by a few quills of gold ; and here are enough to 
satisfy them." Hualpa produced a handful of the 
money. "Let us try them. Outside the g^te 
the street is clear." 

The courtier protested, but the prince was de- 

" The arms ! Pledge my province and palaces, 
— everything for a maquahuitl novi,'' 

They went to the gate and obtained the use of 
two of the weapons and as many shields. Then 
the party passed into the street, which they found 
deserted. To avoid the great thoroughfare to 
Iztapalapan, they turned to the north, and kept 
on as far as the corner of the garden wall. 

" Stay we here," said the courtier. " Short 
time is all you want, lord Iztlil*. The feathers on 
the hawk's wings are not full-fledged." 

The man spoke confidently ; and it must be 
confessed that the Tezcucan's reputation and ex- 
perience justified the assurance. One advantage 


the hunter had which his enemies both overlooked, 
— a surpassing composure. From a temple near 
by, a red light flared broadly over the place, re- 
deeming it from what would otherwise have been 
vague starlight ; by its aid they might have seen 
his countenance without a trace of excitement or 
passion. One wish, and but one, he had, — that 
Guatamozin could witness the trial. 

The impatience of the Tezcucan permitted but 
few preliminaries. 

"The gods of Mictlan require no prayers. 
Stand out ! " he said. 

" Strike ! " answered Hualpa. 

Up rose the glassy blades of the Tezcucan, 
flashing in the light ; quick and strong the blow, 
yet it clove but the empty air. " For the 'tzin ! " 
shouted the hunter, striking back before the other 
was half recovered. The shield was dashed aside ; 
a groan acknowledged a wound in the breast, and 
IztUr staggered ; another blow stretched him on 
the pavement. A stream of blood, black in the 
night, stole slowly out over the flags. The fight 
was over. The victor dropped the bladed end of 
his weapon, and surveyed his foe with astonish- 
ment, then pity. 

"Your friend is hurt; help him!" he said, 
turning to the courtier ; but he was alone, — the 
craven had run. For one fresh from the hills, 
this was indeed a dilemma ! A duel and a death 
in sight of the royal palace! A chill tingled 
through his veins. He thought rapidly of the 
alarm, the arrest, the king's wrath, and himself 


given to glut the monsters in the menagerie. Up 
rose, also, the many fastnesses amid the cedared 
glades of Tihuanco. Could he but reach them ! 
The slaves of Montezuma, to please a whim, 
might pursue and capture a quail or an eagle ; but 
there he could laugh at pursuit, while in Tenoch- 
titlan he was nowhere safe. 

' Sight of the flowing blood brought him out of 
the panic. He raised the Tezcucan's arm, and 
tore the rich vestments from his breast. The 
wound was a glancing one ; it might not be fatal 
after all ; to save him were worth the trial. Taking 
off his own maxtlatl, he wound it tightly round 
the body and over the cut. Across the street 
there was a small, open house ; lifting the wounded 
man gently as possible, he carried him thither, 
and laid him in a darkened passage. Where else 
to convey him he knew not; that was all he 
could do. Now for flight, — for Tihuanco. Tire- 
less and swift of foot shall they be who catch him 
on the way ! 

He started for the lake, intending to cross in a 
canoe rather than by the causeway; already a 
square was put behind, when it occurred to him 
that the Tezcucan might have slaves and a palan* 
quin waiting before the palace door. He began, 
also, to reproach himself for the baseness of the 
desertion. How would the 'tzin have acted ? 
When the same Tezcucan lay with the dead in 
the arena, who nursed him back to life } 

If Hualpa had wished his patron's presence at 
the beginning of the combat, now, flying from im- 

IztliP staggered 


aginary dangers, — flying, like a startled coward, 
from his very victory, — much did he thank the 
gods that he was alone and unseen. In a kind of 
alcove, or resting-place for weary walkers, with 
which, by the way, the thoroughfares of Tenoch- 
titlan were well provided, he sat down, recalled his 
wonted courage, and determined on a course more 
manly, whatever the risk. 

Then he retraced his steps, and went boldly to 
the portal of the palace, where he found the Tez- 
cucan's palanquin. The slaves in charge followed 
him without objection. 

"Take your master to his own palace. Be 
quick ! ** he said to them, when the wounded man 
was transferred to the carriage. 

" It is in Tecuba," said one of them. 


He did more; he accompanied the slaves. 
Along the street, across the causeway, which 
never seemed of such weary length, they proceeded. 
On the road the Tezcucan revived. He said little, 
and was passive in his enemy's hands. From Te- 
cuba the latter hastened back to Tenochtitlan, 
and reached the portico of Xoli, the Chalcan, just 
as day broke over the valley. 

And such was the hunter's first emprise, as a 


T is hardly worth while to detail the 
debate between Hualpa and Xoli; 
enough to know that the latter, an- 
ticipating pursuit, hid the son of his 
friend in a closet attached to his res- 

That day, and many others, the police went up 
and down, ferreting for the assassin of the noble 
Iztlir. Few premises escaped their search. The 
Chalcan*s, amongst others, was examined, but 
without discovery. Thus safely concealed, the 
hunter throve on the cuisine^ and for the loss of 


liberty was consoled by the gossip and wordy 
wisdom of his accessory, and, by what was better, 
the gratitude of Guatamozin. In such manner 
two weeks passed away, the longest and most 
wearisome of his existence. How sick at heart 
he grew in his luxurious imprisonment ; how he 
pined for the old hills and woodlands ; how he 
longed once more to go down the shaded vales 
free-footed and fearless, stalking deer or follow- 
ing his ocelot. Ah, what is ambition gratified to 
freedom lost ! 

Unused to the confinement, it became irksome 
to him, and at length intolerable. "When," he 
asked himself, "is this to end.? Will the king 
ever withdraw his huntsmen.? Through whom 
am I to look or hope for pardon ? " He sighed, 
paced the narrow closet, and determined that 
night to walk out and see if his old friends the 
stars were still in their places, and take a draught 
of the fresh air, to his remembrance sweeter than 
the new beverage of the Chalcan. And when 
the night came he was true to his resolution. 

Pass we his impatience while waiting an oppor- 
tunity to leave the house unobserved ; his at- 
tempts unsuccessfully repeated ; his vexation at 
the "noble patrons" who lounged in the apart- 
ments and talked so long over their goblets. At 
a late hour he made good his exit. In the tiafi- 
gueZy which was the first to receive him, booths 
and porticoes were closed for the night ; lights 
were everywhere extinguished, except on the 
towers of the temples. As morning would end 


his furlough and drive him back to the hated 
captivity, he resolved to make the most of the 
night ; he would visit the lake, he would stroll 
through the streets. By the gods ! he would 
play freeman to the full. 

In his situation, all places were alike perilous, 
— houses, streets, temples, and palaces. As for 
that reason one direction was good as another, 
he started up the Iztapalapan street from the 
tianguez. Passengers met him now and then ; 
otherwise the great thoroughfare was unusually 
quiet. Sauntering along in excellent imitation of 
cateless enjoyment, he strove to feel cheerful ; 
but, in spite of his efforts, he became lonesome, 
while his dread of the patrols kept him uneasy. 
Such freedom, he ascertained, was not all his 
fancy colored it ; yet it was not so bad as his 
prison. On he went. Sometimes on a step, or 
in the shade of a portico, he would sit and gaze 
at the houses as if they were old friends basking 
in the moonlight ; at the bridges he would also 
stop, and, leaning over the balustrades, watch the 
waveless water in the canal below, and envy the 
watermen asleep in their open canoes. The result 
was a feeling of recklessness, sharpened by a yearn- 
ing for something to do, some place to visit, some 
person to see; in short, a thousand wishes, so 
vague, however, that they amounted to nothing. 

In this mood he thought of Nenetzin, who, in 
the tedium of his imprisonment, had become to 
him a constant dream, — a vision by which his 
fancy was amused and his impatience soothed ; 


a vision that faded not with the morning, but at 
noon was sweet as at night. With the thought 
came another, — the idea of an adventure ex- 
cusable only in a lover. 

"The garden I " he said, stopping and thinking. 
" The garden ! It is the king's ; so is the street. 
It is guarded ; so is the city. I will be in danger ; 
but that is around me everywhere. By the gods ! 
I will go to the garden, and look at the house in 
which she sleeps." 

Invade the gardens of the great king at mid- 
night! The project would have terrified the 
Chalcan ; the 'tzin would have forbade it ; at any 
other time, the adventurer himself would rather 
have gone unarmed into the den of a tiger. The 
gardens were chosen places sacred to royalty; 
otherwise they would have been without walls 
and without sentinels at the gates. In the event 
of detection and arrest, the intrusion at such a 
time would be without excuse; death was the 

But the venture was agreeable to the mood he 
was in ; he welcomed it as a relief from loneli- 
ness, as a rescue from his tormenting void of pur- 
pose; if he saw the dangers, they were viewed 
in the charm of his gentle passion, — griffins and 
goblins masked by Love, the enchanter. He 
started at once ; and now that he had an object 
before him, there was no more loitering under 
porticoes or on the bridges. As the squares 
were put behind him, he repeated over and over, 
as a magical exorcism, " I will look at the house 


in which she sleeps, — the house in which she 

Once in his progress, he turned aside from the 
great street, and went up a footway bordering a 
canal. At the next street, however, he crossed a 
bridge, and proceeded to the north again. Al- 
most before he was aware of it, he reached the 
comer of the royal garden, always to be remem- 
bered by him as the place of his combat with the 
Tezcucan. But so intent was he upon his present 
project he scarcely gave it a second look. 

The wall was but little higher than his head, 
and covered with snowy stucco ; and where, over 
the coping, motionless in the moonshine, a palm- 
tree lifted its graceful head, he boldly climbed, 
and entered the sacred enclosure. Drawing his 
mantle close about him, he stole toward the pal- 
ace, selecting the narrow walks most protected 
by overhanging shrubbery. 

A man's instinct is a good counselor in danger ; 
often it is the only counselor. Gliding through 
the shadows, cautiously as if hunting, he seemed 
to hear a recurrent whisper, — 

" Have a care, O hunter ! This is not one of 
thy familiar places. The gardens of the great 
king have other guardians than the stars. Death 
awaits thee at every gate.'* 

But as often came the reply, " Nenetzin, — I 
will see the house in which she sleeps." 

He held on toward the palace, never stopping 
until the top, here and there crowned with low 
turrets, rose above the highest trees. Then he 


listened intently, but heard not a sound of life 
from the princely pile. He sought next a retreat, 
where, secure from observation, he nlight sit in 
the pleasant air, arid give wings to his lover's 
fancy. At last he found one, a little retired from 
the central walk, and not far from a tank, which 
had once been, if it were not now, the basin of a 
fountain. Upon a bench, well shaded by a clump 
of flowering bushes, he stretched himself at ease, 
and was soon absorbed 

The course of his thought, in keeping with his 
youth, was to the future Most of the time, how- 
ever, he had no distinct idea; revery, like an 
evening mist, settled upon him. Sometimes he 
lay with closed eyes, shutting himself in, as it 
were, from the world ; then he stared vacantly at 
the stars, or into those blue places in the mighty 
vault too deep for stars; but most he loved to 
look at the white walls of the palace. And for 
the time he was happy ; his soul may be said to 
have been singing a silent song to the uncon- 
scious Nenetzin. 

Once or twice he was disturbed by a noise, like 
the suppressed cry of a child ; but he attributed 
it to some of the restless animals in the museum 
at the farther side of the garden. Half the night 
was gone ; so the watchers on the temples pro- 
claimed ; and still he stayed, — still dreamed. 

About that time, however, he was startled by 
footsteps coming apparently from the palace. He 
sat up, ready for action. The appearance of a 
man alone and unarmed allayed his apprehension 


for the moment. Up the walk, directly by the 
hiding-place, the stranger came. As he passed 
slowly on, the intruder thrilled at beholding, not 
a guard or an officer, but Montezuma in person ! 
As far as the tank the monarch walked; there 
he stopped, put his hands behind him, and looked 
moodily down into the pool. 

Garden, palace, Nenetzin, — everything but the 
motionless figure by the tank faded from Hualpa's 
mind. Fear came upon him ; and no wonder : 
there, almost within reach, at midnight, unat- 
tended, stood what was to him the positive reali- 
zation of power, ruler of the Empire, dispenser of 
richest gifts, keeper of life and death! Guilty, 
and tremulously apprehensive that he had been 
discovered, Hualpa looked each instant to be 
dragged from his hiding. 

The space around the tank was clear, and 
strewn with shells perfectly white in the moon- 
light. While the adventurer sat fixed to his seat, 
watching the king, watching, also, a chance of 
escape, he saw something come from the shrub- 
bery, move stealthily out into the walk, then 
crouch down. Now, as I have shown, he was 
brave ; but this tested all his courage. Out fur- 
ther crept the object, moving with the stillness of 
a spirit. Scarcely could he persuade himself at 
first that it was not an illusion begotten of his 
fears ; but its form and movements, the very still- 
ness of its advance, at last identified it. In all his 
hunter's experience, he had never seen an ocelot 
so large. The screams he had heard were now 


explained, — the monster had escaped from the 
menagerie ! 

I cannot say the recognition wrought a sub- 
sidence of Hualpa's fears. He felt instinctively 
for his arms, — he had nothing but a knife of 
brittle itzli. Then he thought of the stories he 
had heard of the ferocity of the royal tigers, and 
of unhappy wretches flung, by way of punish- 
ment, into their dens. He shuddered, and turned 
to the king, who still gazed thoughtfully over the 
wall of the tank. 

Holy Huitzil' ! the ocelot was creeping upon 
the monarch ! The flash of understanding that 
revealed the fact to Hualpa was like the lightning. 
Breathlessly he noticed the course the brute was 
taking ; there could be no doubt. Another flash, 
and he understood the monarch's peril, — alone, 
unarmed, before the guards at the gates or in the 
palace could come, the struggle would be over ; 
chDd of the Sun though he was, there remained 
for him but one hope of rescue. 

As, in common with provincials generally, he 
cherished a reverence for the monarch hardly 
secondary to that he felt for the gods, the Ti- 
huancan was inexpressibly shocked to see him sub- 
ject to such a danger. An impulse aside from 
native chivalry urged him to confront the ocelot ; 
but under the circumstances, — and he recounted 
them rapidly, — he feared the king more than the 
brute. Brief time was there for consideration; 
each moment the peril increased. He thought of 
the *tzin, then of Nenetzin. 


" Now or never ! " he said. " If the gods do 
but help me, I will prove myself ! " 

And he unlooped the mantle, and wound it 
about his left arm ; the knife, poor as it was, he 
took from his maxtlatl; then he was ready. Ah, 
if he only had a javelin ! 

To place himself between the king and his 
enemy was what he next set about. Experience 
had taught him how much such animals are gov- 
erned by curiosity, and upon that he proceeded to 
act. On his hands and knees he crept out into 
the walk. The moment he became exposed, the 
ocelot stopped, raised its round head, and watched 
him with a gaze as intent as his own. The ad- 
vance was slow and stealthy ; when the point was 
almost gained, the king turned about. 

" Speak not, stir not, O king ! *' he cried, with- 
out stopping. " I will save you, — no other can." 

From creeping man the monarch looked to 
crouching beast, and comprehended the situation. 

Forward went Hualpa, now the chief object of 
attraction to the monster. At last he was directly 
in front of it. 

" Call the guard and fly ! It is coming now ! '' 

And through the garden rang the call Verily, 
the hunter had become the king ! 

A moment after the ocelot lowered its head, 
and leaped. The Tihuancan had barely time to 
put himself in posture to receive the attack, his 
left arm serving as shield; upon his knee, he 
struck with the knife. The blood flew, and there 
was a howl so loud that the shouts of the monarch 


were drowned. The mantle was rent to ribbons ; 
and through the feathers, cloth, and flesh, the long 
fangs craunched to the bone, — but not without 
return. This time the knife, better directed, was 
driven to the heart, where it snapped short off, 
and remained. The clenched jaws relaxed. Rush- 
ing suddenly in, Hualpa contrived to push* the 
fainting brute into the tank. He saw it sink, saw 
the pool subside to its calm, then turned to Monte- 
zuma, who, though calling lustily for the guard, 
had stayed to the end. Kneeling upon the stained 
shells, he laid the broken knife at the monarch's 
feet, and waited for him to speak. 

" Arise ! " the king said kindly. 

The hunter stood up, splashed with blood, the 
fragments of his tilmatli clinging in shreds to his 
arm, his tunic torn, the hair fallen over his face, 
— a most uncourtierlike figure. 

"You are hurt," said the king directly. "I 
was once thought skillful with medicines. Let 
me see." 

He found the wounds, and untying his own 
sash, rich with embroidery, wrapped it in many 
folds around the bleeding arm. 

Meantime there was commotion in many quar- 

"Evil take the careless watchers!" he said 
sternly, noticing the rising clamor. "Had I 
trusted them, — but are you not of the guard } " 

"I am the great king's slave, — his poorest 
slave, but not of his guard." 

Montezuma regarded him attentively. 


"It cannot be; an assassin would not have 
interfered with the ocelot. Take up the knife, 
and follow me." 

Hualpa obeyed. On the way they met a num- 
ber of the guard running in great perplexity ; but 
without a word to them, the monarch walked on, 
and. into the palace. In a room where there were 
tables and seats, books and writing materials, maps 
on the walls and piles of them on the floor, he 
stopped, and seated himself. 

" You know what truth is, and how the gods 
punish falsehood," he began ; then, abruptly, 
" How came you in the garden ? " 

Hualpa fell on his knees, laid his palm on the 
floor, and answered without looking up, for such 
he knew to be a courtly custom. 

" Who may deceive the wise king Montezuma ? 
I will answer as to the gods : the gardens are 
famous in song and story, and I was tempted to 
see them, and climbed the wall. When you came 
to the fountain, I was close by ; and while wait- 
ing a chance to escape, I saw the ocelot creeping 
upon you; and — and — the great king is too 
generous to deny his slave the pardon he risked 
his life for." 

''Who are you.?" 

"I am from the province of Tihuanco. My 
name is Hualpa," 

"Hualpa, Hualpa," repeated the king slowly. 
"You serve Guatamozin." 

" He is my friend and master, O king." 

Montezuma started. " Holy gods, what mad- 


ness ! My people have sought you far and wide 
to feed you to the tiger in the tank.*' 

Hualpa faltered not. 

" O king, I know I am charged with the mur- 
der of Iztlil', the Tezcucan. Will it please you 
to hear my story ? '* 

And taking the assent, he gave the particulars 
of the combat, not omitting the cause. "I did 
not murder him,'' he concluded " If he is dead, 
I slew him in fair fight, shield to shield, as a 
warrior may, with honor, slay a foeman." 

" And you carried him to Tecuba ? " 

"Before the judges, if you choose, I will make 
the account good." 

"Be it sol" the monarch said emphatically. 
" Two days hence, in the court, I will accuse you. 
Have there your witnesses : it is a matter of life 
and death. Now, what of your master, the *tzin ? " 

The question was dangerous, and Hualpa 
trembled, but resolved to be bold. 

"If it be not too presumptuous, most mighty 
king, — if a slave may seem to judge his master's 
judgment by the offer of a word " — 

" Speak ! I give you liberty." 

" I wish to say," continued Hualpa, " that in 
the court there are many noble courtiers who 
would die for you, O king; but, of them all, 
there is not one who so loves you, or whose love 
could be made so profitable, being backed by 
skill, courage, and wisdom, as the generous prince 
whom you call my master. In his banishment he 
has chosen to serve you ; for the night the stran- 


gers landed in Cempoalla, he left his palace in 
Iztapalapan, and entered their camp in the train 
of the governor of Cotastlan. Yesterday a cou- 
rier, whom you rewarded richly for his speed in 
coming, brought you portraits of the strangers, 
and pictures of their arms and camp ; that courier 
was Guatamozin, and his was the hand that 
wrought the artist's work. Oh, much as your 
faculties become a king, you have been deceived ; 
he is not a traitor." 

" Who told you such a fine minstrel's tale ? '* 

"The gods judge me, O king, if, without your 
leave, I had so much as dared kiss the dust at 
your feet. What you have graciously permitted 
me to tell I heard from the 'tzin himself." 

Montezuma sat a long time silent, then asked, 
" Did your master speak of the strangers, or of 
the things he saw ? " 

" The noble 'tzin regards me kindly, and there- 
fore spoke with freedom. He said, mourning 
much that he could not be at your last council to 
declare his opinion, that you were mistaken." 

The speaker's face was cast down, so that he 
could not see the frown with which the plain 
words were received, and he continued, — 

"'They are not teules,'^ so the 'tzinsaid, *but 
men, as you and I are ; they eat, sleep, drink, like 
us ; nor is that all, — they die like us ; for in the 
night,' he said, *I was in their camp, and saw 
them, by torchlight, bury the body of one that 
day dead.' And then he asked, * Is that a prac- 
1 Gods. 


tice among the gods ? ' Your slave, O king, is 
not learned as a paba, and therefore believed him." 

Montezuma stood up. 

" Not teules ! How thinks he they should be 
dealt with ? " 

" He says that, as they are men, they are also 
invaders, with whom an Aztec cannot treat. 
Nothing for them but war ! *' 

To and fro the monarch walked. After which 
he returned to Hualpa and said, — 

" Go home now. To-morrow I will send you a 
tilmatli for the one you wear. Look to your 
wounds, and recollect the trial. As you love life, 
have there your proof. I will be your accuser." 

" As the great king is merciful to his children, 
the gods will be merciful to him. I will give 
myself to the guards," said the hunter, to whom 
anything was preferable to the closet in the 

"No, you are free." 

Hualpa kissed the floor, and arose, and hurried 
from the palace to the house of Xoli on the tian- 
guez. The effect of his appearance upon that 
worthy, and the effect of the story afterwards, 
may be imagined Attention to the wounds, a 
bath, and sound slumber put the adventurer in 
a better condition by the next noon. 

And from that night he thought more than 
ever of glory and Nenetzin. 


EXT day, after the removal of the 
noon comfitures, and when the 
princess Tula had gone to the 
|j hammock for the usual siesta, 
MJ^i^—J^M Nenetzin rushed into her apart- 
ment unusually excited. 

" Oh, I have something so strange to tell you, 
— something so strange ! " she cried, throwing 
herself upon the hammock. 

Her face was bright and very beautiful Tula 
looked at her a moment, then put her lips lovingly 
to the smooth forehead. 

"By the Sun! as our royal father sometimes 
swears, my sister seems in earnest.*' 

" Indeed I am ; and you will go with me, wiD 
you not } " 

"Ah! you want to take me to the garden to 
see the dead tiger, or, perhaps, the warrior who 


slew it, or — now I have it — you have seen an- 
other minstrel." 

Tula expected the girl to laugh, but was sur- 
prised to see her eyes fill with tears. She 
changed her manner instantly, and bade the slave 
who had been sitting by the hammock, fanning 
her, to retire. Then she said, — 

" You jest so much, Nenetzin, that I do not 
know when you are serious. I love you : now 
tell me what has happened." 

The answer was given in a low voice. 

" You will think me foolish, and so I am, but 
I cannot help it. Do you recollect the dream I 
told you the night on the chinampa ? " 

" The night Yeteve came to us } I recollect." 

" You know I saw a man come and sit down in 
our father's palace, — a stranger with blue eyes 
and fair face, and hair and beard like the silk of 
the ripening maize. I told you I loved him, and 
would have none but him ; and you laughed at 
me, and said he was the god Quetzal'. Oh, Tula, 
the dream has come back to me many times 
since ; so often that it seems, when I am awake, 
to have been a reality. I am childish, you think, 
and very weak ; you may even pity me ; but I 
have grown to look upon the blue-eyed as some- 
thing lovable and great, and thought of him is a 
part of my mind; so much so that it is useless 
for me to say he is not, or that I am loving a 
shadow. And now, O dear Tula, now comes 
the strange part of my story. Yesterday, you 
know, a courier from Cempoalla brought our 


father some pictures of the strangers lately landed 
from the sea. This morning I heard there were 
portraits among them, and could not resist a 
curiosity to see them ; so I went, and almost the 
first one I came to, — do not laugh, — almost the 
first one I came to was the picture of him who 
comes to me so often in my dreams. I looked 
and trembled. There indeed he was ; there were 
the blue eyes, the yellow hair, the white face, 
even the dress, shining as silver, and the plumed 
crest. I did not stay to look at anything else, 
but hurried here, scarcely knowing whether to be 
glad or afraid. I thought if you went with me I 
would not be afraid. Go you must ; we will look 
at the portrait together." And she hid her face, 
sobbing like a child. 

" It is too wonderful for belief. I will go,'* said 

She arose, and the slave brought and threw 
over her shoulders the long white scarf so invari- 
ably a part of an Aztec woman's costume. Then 
the sisters took their way to the chamber where 
the pictures were kept, — the same into which 
Hualpa had been led the night before. The king 
was elsewhere giving audience, and his clerks 
and attendants were with him. So the two were 
allowed to indulge their curiosity undisturbed. 

Nenetzin went to a pile of manuscripts lying 
on the floor. The elder sister was startled by 
the first picture exposed ; for she recognized the 
handiwork, long since familiar to her, of the 'tzin. 
Nor was she less surprised by the subject, which 


was a horse, apparently a nobler instrument for a 
god's revenge than man himself. 

Next she saw pictured a horse, its rider 
mounted, and in Christian armor, and bearing 
shield, lance, and sword. Then came a cannon, 
the gunner by the carriage, his match lighted, 
while a volume of flame and smoke was bursting 
from the throat of the piece. A portrait followed ; 
she lifted it up, and trembled to see the hero of 
Nenetzin's dream ! 

" Did I not tell you so, O Tula ? " said the girl 
in a whisper. 

"The face is pleasant and noble," the other 
answered thoughtfully ; " but I am afraid. There 
is evil in the smile, evil in the blue eyes." 

The rest of the manuscripts they left untouched. 
The one absorbed them ; but with what different 
feelings! Nenetzin was a-flutter with pleasure, 
restrained by awe. Impressed by the singularity 
of the vision, as thus realized, a passionate wish 
to see the man or god, whichever he was, and 
hear his voice, may be called her nearest sem- 
blance to reflection. Like a lover in the presence 
of the beloved, she was glad and contented, and 
asked nothing of the future. But with Tula, 
older and wiser, it was different. She was con- 
scious of the novelty of the incident ; at the same 
time a presentiment, a gloomy foreboding, filled 
her soul. In slumber we sometimes see spectres, 
and they sit by us and smile ; yet we shrink, and 
cannot keep down anticipations of ill. So Tula 
was affected by what she beheld. 



She laid the portrait softly down, and turned to 
Nenetzin, who had now no need to deprecate her 

"The ways of the gods are most strange. 
Something tells me this is their work. I am 
afraid; let us go." 

And they retired, and the rest of the day, 
swinging in the hammock, they talked of the 
dream and the portrait, and wondered what would 
come of them. 

r- ^.TATA! 




• .^'UALPA'S adventure in the gar- 
den made a great stir in the pal- 
ace and the city. Profound was 
the astonishment, therefore, when 
I ^ i V . # s it became known that the savior 

I of the king and the murderer of the Tez- 
ij cucan were one and the same person, and 
:| that, in the latter character, he was to be 
p taken into court and tried for his life, 

II Montezuma himself acting as accuser. 
'\ Though universally discredited, the story 
I had the effect of drawing an immense 
If attendance at the trial. 

" Ho, Chalcan ! Fly not your friends in that 
way ! " 

So the broker was saluted by some men nobly 
dressed, whom he was about passing on the great 
street. He stopped, and bowed very low. 

" A pleasant day, my lords ! Your invitation 
honors me ; the will of his patrons should always 
be law to the poor keeper of a portico. I am hur- 
rying to the trial.** 


" Then stay with us. We also have a curiosity 
to see the assassin." 

"My good lord speaks harshly. The boy, 
whom I love as a son, cannot be what you call 

The noble laughed. " Take it not ill, Chalcan. 
So much do I honor the hand that slew the base 
Tezcucan that I care not whether it was in fair 
fight or by vantage taken. But what do you 
know about the king being accuser to-day ? " 

" So he told the boy." 


"I will not quarrel with my lord on that ac- 
count," rejoined the broker. " A more generous 
master than Montezuma never lived. Are not 
the people always complaining of his liberality ? 
At the last banquet, for inventing a simple drink, 
did he not give me, his humblest slave, a goblet 
fit for another king ? " 

" And what is your drink, though ever so excel- 
lent, to the saving his life.^ Is not that your 
argument, Chalcan ? " 

"Yes, my lord, and at such peril! Ah, you 
should have seen the ocelot when taken from the 
tank! The keepers told me it was the largest 
and fiercest in the museum." 

Then Xoli proceeded to edify his noble audi- 
ence with all the gossip pertaining to the adven- 
ture ; and as his object was to take into court 
some friends for the luckless hunter more influen- 
tial than himself, he succeeded admirably. Every 
few steps there were such expressions as, "It 


would be pitiful if so brave a fellow should die ! " 
" If I were king, by the Sun, I would enrich him 
from the possessions of the Tezcucan ! " And 
as they showed no disposition to interrupt him, 
his pleading lasted to the house of justice, where 
the company arrived not any too soon to procure 
comfortable seats. 

The courthouse stood at the left of the street, 
a little retired from the regular line of buDdings. 
The visitors had first to pass through a spacious 
hall, which brought them to a courtyard cemented 
under foot, and on all sides bounded with beauti- 
ful houses. Then, on the right, they saw the 
entrance to the chamber of justice, grotesquely 
called the Tribunal of God,^ in which, for ages, 
had been administered a code, vindictive, but not 
without equity. The great door was richly carved ; 
the windows high and broad, and lined with fluted 
marble; while a projecting cornice, tastefully fin- 
ished, gave airiness and beauty to the venerable 

The party entered the room with profoundest 
reverence. On a dais sat the* judge; in front of 
him was the stool bearing the skull with the 
emerald crown and gay plumes. Turning from 
the plain tapestry along the walls, the spectators 
failed not to admire the jewels that blazed with 
almost starry splendor from the centre of the 
canopy above him. 

The broker, not being of the class of privileged 
nobles, found a seat with difficulty. To his com- 

* Prescott, Conq. of Mexico, vol. L, p. 33. 


fort, however, he .was placed by the side of aji 

" You should have come earlier, Chalcan ; the 
judge has twice used the arrow this morning." 


" Once against a boy too much given X.o pulque ^ 
— a drunkard. With the other doubtless you 
were acquainted." 

"^^ Was he noble?" 

" He had good blood, at least, being the son of 
a Tetzmellocan, who died immensely rich. The 
witnesses said the fellow squandered his father's 
estate almost as soon as it came to him." 

" Better had he been bom a thief," ^ said Xoli 

Suddenly, four heralds, with silver maces, en- 
tered the court-room, announcing the monarch. 
The people fell upon their knees, and so remained 
until he was seated before the dais. Then they 
arose, and, with staring eyes, devoured the beauty 
of his costume, and the mysterious sanction of 
manner, office, power, and custom, which the 
lovers of royalty throughout the world have de- 
lighted to sum up in the one word, — majesty. 
The hum of voices filled the chamber. Then, 
by another door, in charge of officers, Hualpa 
appeared, and was led to the dais opposite the 
king. Before an Aztecan court there was no cere- 
mony. The highest and the lowliest stood upon 
a level : such, at least, was the beautiful theory. 

^ A thief might be punished with slavery: death was the 
penalty for prodigalism and drunkenness. 


So intense was the curiosity to see the prisoner 
that the spectators pressed upon each other, for 
the moment mindless of the monarch's presence. 

" A handsome fellow ! " said an old cacique 

" Only a boy, my lord ! " suggested the critic. 

"And not fierce-looking, either.*' 

"Yes" — 

" No " — 

" He might kill, but in fair fight : so I judge 

And that became the opinion amongst the 

"Your friend seems confident, Xoli. I like 
him," remarked the Chalcan's acquaintance. 

" Hush ! The king accuses." 

" The king, said you ! " And the good man, 
representing the commonalty, was frozen into 

In another quarter, one asked, "Does he not 
wear the 'tzin*s livery ? " 

The person interrogated covered his mouth 
with both hands, then drew to the other's ear, and 
whispered, — 

" Yes, he 's a 'tzin's man, and that, they say, is 
his crime." 

The sharp voice of the executive officer of the 
court rang out, and there was stillness almost 
breathless. Up rose the clerk, a learned man, 
keeper of the records, and read the indictment ; 
that done, he laid the portrait of the accused on 
the table before the judge ; then the trial began. 


The judge, playing carelessly with the fatal 
arrow, said, — "Hualpa, son of Tepaja, the Ti- 
huancan, stand up, and answer." 

And the prisoner arose, and saluted court and 
king, and answered, " It is true, that on the night 
of the banquet, I fought the Tezcucan ; by favor 
of the gods, I defeated, without slaying him. He 
is here in person to acquit me." 

" Bring the witness," said the judge. 

Some of the officers retired; during their ab- 
sence a solemn hush prevailed directly; they 
returned, carrying a palanquin. Right before the 
dais they set it down, and drew aside the curtains. 
Then slowly the Tezcucan came forth, — weak, 
but unconquered. At the judge he looked, and 
at the king, and all the fire of his haughty soul 
burned in the glance. Borrowing strength from 
his pride, he raised his head high, and said scorn- 
fully, — 

" The power of my father's friend is exceeding 
great ; he speaks, and all things obey him. I am 
sick and suffering ; but he bade me come, and I 
am here. What new shame awaits me .? " 

Montezuma answered, never more a king than 
then : " 'Hualpilli was wise ; his son is foolish ; for 
the memory of the one I spare the other. The 
keeper of this sacred place will answer why you 
are brought here. Look that he pardons you 
lightly as I have." 

Then the judge said, " Prince of Tezcuco, you 
are here by my order. There stands one charged 
with your murder. Would you have had him 


suffer the penalty ? You have dared be insolent. 
See, O prince, that before to-morrow you pay the 
treasurer ten thousand quills of gold. See to it." 
And, returning the portrait to the clerk, he added, 
" Let the accused go acquit." 

"Ah! said I not so, said I not so.? " muttered 
the Chalcan, rubbing his hands joyfully, and dis- 
turbing the attentive people about him. 

" Hist, hist ! " they said impatiently. " What 
more? hearken!" 

Hualpa was kneeling before the monarch. 

" Most mighty king," he said, " if what I have 
done be worthy reward, grant me the discharge 
of this fine." 

" How ! " said Montezuma, amazed. " The Tez- 
cucan is your enemy ! " 

" Yet he fought me fairly, and is a warrior." 

The eyes of the king sought those of Iztlil*. ■ 

"What says the son of 'Hualpilli ? '' 

The latter raised his head with a flash of the 
old pride. " He is a slave of Guatamozin's : I scorn 
the intercession. I am yet a prince of Tezcuco." 

Then the monarch went forward, and sat by the 
judge. Not a sound was heard, till he spoke. 

"Arise, and come near," he said to Hualpa. 
" I will do what becomes me." 

His voice was low and tremulous with feeling, 
and over his face came the peculiar suffusion of 
sadness afterwards its habitual expression. The 
hunter kissed the floor at his feet, and remained 
kneeling. Then he continued, — 

" Son of the Tihuancan, I acknowledge I owe 


my life to you, and I call all to hear the acknow- 
ledgment. If the people have thought this pro- 
secution part of my gratitude, — if they have 
marveled at my appearing as your accuser, much 
have they wronged me. I thought of reward 
higher than they could have asked for you ; but 
I also thought to try you. A slave is not fit to 
be a chief, nor is every chief fit to be a king. I 
thought to try you : I am satisfied. When your 
fame goes abroad, as it will ; when the minstrels 
sing your valor ; when Tenochtitlan talks of the 
merchant's son, who, in the garden, slew the 
tiger, and saved the life of Montezuma, — let them 
also tell how Montezuma rewarded him ; let them 
say I made him noble.** 

Thereupon he arose, and transferred ifazpatuiche 
from his head to Hualpa's. Those close by looked 
at the gift, and saw, for the first time, that it was 
not the crown, but the crest of a chief or cacique. 
Then they knew that the trial was merely to 
make more public the honors designed. 

"Let them say further," he continued, "that 
with my own hand I made him a. warrior of the 
highest grade." And, bending over the adven- 
turer, he clasped around his neck the collar of the 
supreme military order of the realm.^ " Nor is that 
all. Rank, without competence, is a vexation and 
shame. At the foot of Chapultepec, on the shore 

1 The authorities touching the military orders of the Aztecs 
are full and complete. Prescott, Cotiq, of Mexico^ vol. i. p. 45; 
Acosta, Book vi. ch. 26 ; Mendoza's Collec. Antiq. of Mexico^ 
vol. i. pi. 65. 


of the lake, lie an estate and a palace of which 
I have been proud. Let it be said, finally, that I 
gave them to enrich him and his forever." He 
paused, and turned coldly to the Tezcucan. " But 
as to the son of 'Hualpilli, his fine must stand ; 
such pride must be punished. He shall pay the 
gold, or forfeit his province." Then, outstretch- 
ing toward the audience both his arms, he said, 
so as to be heard throughout the chamber, " Now, 
O my children, justice has been done ! " 

The words were simple ; but the manner, royal 
* as a king's and patriarchal as a pontiff's, brought 
every listener to his knees. 

" Stand up, my lord Hualpa ! Take your place 
in my train. I will return to the palace." 

With that he passed out. 

And soon there was but one person remaining, 
— Iztlir, the Tezcucan. Brought from Tlacopan 
by officers of the court, too weak to walk, without 
slaves to help him, at sight of the deserted hall 
his countenance became haggard, the light in his 
hollow eyes came and went, and his broad breast 
heaved passionately ; in that long, slow look he 
measured the depth of his fall. 

" O Tezcuco, Tezcuco, city of my fathers ! " he 
cried aloud " This is the last wrong to the last 
of thy race of kings." 

A little after he was upon a bench exhausted, 
his head covered by his mantle. Then a hand 
was laid upon his shoulder; he looked up and 
saw Hualpa. 

" How now ! Has the base-bom come to enjoy 


his triumph ? I cannot strike. Laugh and revile 
me; but remember, mine is the blood of kings. 
The gods loved my father, and will not abandon 
his son. In their names I curse you ! *' 

"Tezcucan, you are proud to foolishness," said 
the hunter calmly. " I came to serve you. Within 
an hour I have become master of slaves " — 

" And were yourself a slave ! " 

" Well, I won my freedom ; I slew a beast and 
conquered a — But, prince, my slaves are at the 
door. Command them to Tlacopan." 

" Play courtier to those who have influence ; 
lean your ambition upon one who can advance it. 
I am undone." 

" I am not a courtier. The service I offer 
you springs from a warrior's motive. I propose 
it, not to a man of power, but to a prince whose 
courage is superior to his fortune." 

For a moment the Tezcucan studied the glow- 
ing face ; then his brows relaxed, and, sighing like 
a woman, and like a woman overcome by the un- 
expected gentleness, he bowed his head, and cov- 
ered his face with his hands, that he might not be 
accused of tears. 

" Let me call the slaves, O prince," said Hualpa 

Thrice he clapped his hands, whereat four tat- 
tooed tamanes stalked into the chamber with a 
palanquin. Iztlil' took seat in the carriage, and 
was being borne away, when he called the hunter. 

" A word," he said, in a voice from which all 
passion was gone. " Though my enemy, you have 
been generous, and remembered my misfortunes 


when all others forsook me. Take with you this 
mark. I do not ask you to wear it, for the time 
is nearly come when the son of 'Hualpilli will be 
proscribed throughout the valley ; but keep it in 
witness that I, the son of a king, acknowledged 
your right and fitness to be a noble. Farewell." 

Hualpa could not refuse a present so delicately 
given ; extending his hand, he received a bracelet 
of gold, set with an Aztec diamond of immense 
value. He clasped it upon his. arm, and followed 
the carriage into the street. 




ND now was come the time of 
all the year most pleasant, — 
the time when the maguey was 
greenest, when the cacti burst 
into flowers, and in every field 
women and children, with the 
strong men, went to pluck the 
ripened maize. Of the summer, only the wealth 
and beauty remained. The Goddess of Abun- 
dance divided the worship which, at other sea- 
sons, was mostly given to Huitzir and Tezca*;^ 
in her temples the days were all of prayer, hymn- 
ing, and priestly ceremony. No other towers sent 

^ Tezcatlipoca, a god next in rank to the Supreme Being. 
Supposed creator of the world. 


up such columns of the blue smoke so grateful to 
the dwellers in the Sun ; in no other places were 
there such incessant burning of censers, presen- 
tation of gifts, and sacrifice of victims. Through- 
out the valley the people caroled those songs the 
sweetest and most millennial of men, — the songs 
of harv'est, peace, and plenty. 

I have before said that Tezcuco, the lake, was 
the especial pride of the Aztecs. When the sky 
was clear, and the air tranquil, it was very beauti- 
ful ; but when the king, with his court, all in state, 
set out for the hunting-grounds on the northern 
shore, its beauty rose to splendor. By his invita- 
tion great numbers of citizens, in style suited to 
the honor, joined their canoes to the flotilla com- 
posing the retinue. And let it not be forgotten 
that the Aztec loved his canoe as in Christendom 
the good knight loves his steed, and decorated it 
with all he knew of art ; that its prow, rising high 
above the water, and touched by the master sculp>- 
tors, was dressed in garlands and fantastic sym- 
bols ; that its light and shapely canopy, elegantly 
trimmed within, was shaded by curtains, and sur- 
mounted by trailing streamers ; and that the 
slaves, four, six, and sometimes twelve in num- 
ber, dipped and drew their flashing paddles in 
faultless time, and shone afar brilliant in livery. 
So, when the multitude of vessels cleared the city 
walls, and with music and songs dashed into the 
open lake, the very water seemed to dance and 
quiver with a sensuous pleasure. 

In such style did Montezuma one pleasant 


morning leave his capital. Calm was the lake, 
and so clear that the reflection of the sky above 
seemed a bed of blue below. There were music, 
and shouts, and merry songs, and from the city 
the cheers and plaudits of the thousands who, 
from the walls and housetops, witnessed the pa- 
geant. And his canoe was the soul of the pomp, 
and he had with him his favorite minstrel and 
jester, and Maxtla ; yet there was something on 
his mind that made him indifferent to the scene 
and prospective sport. Some distance out, by 
his direction, the slaves so manoeuvred that all 
the flotilla passed him ; then he said to Maxtla, 
" The will has left me. I will not hunt to-day ; 
yet the pastime must ^0 on ; a recall now were 
unkingly. Look out for a way to follow the train, 
while I return." 

The chief arose, and swept the lake with a 
bright glance. "Yonder is a chinampa ; I can 
take its master's canoe." 

" Do so. Give this ring to the lord Cuitlahua, 
and tell him to conduct the hunt." 

And soon Maxtla was hurrying to the north 
with the signet, while the monarch was speeding 
more swiftly to the south. 

" For Iztapalapan," said the latter to his slaves. 
" Take me there before the lords reach the hunt- 
ing-grounds, and you shall have a feast to-night." 

They bent to the paddles, and rested not until 
he saw the white houses of the city, built far into 
the lake in imitation of the capital. 

" Not to the town, but the palace of Guata- 


mozin," he then said. " Speed ! the sun is rising 

Arrived at the landing, Montezuma set forward 
alone to the palace. The path led into a grove 
of cedar and wild orange-trees, interspersed with 
ceibaSf the true kings of the forests of New Mex- 
ico. The air was sweet with perfume ; birds 
sang to each other from the coverts ; the adjacent 
cascades played their steady, muffled music ; and 
altogether morning on the lake was less beautiful 
than morning in the 'tzin's garden. In the mul- 
titude of walks he became bewildered ; but, as he 
was pleased by all he beheld, he walked on with- 
out consulting the sun. At length, guided by 
the sound of voices, he came to the arena for 
martial games ; and there he found Hualpa and 
lo' practicing with the bow. 

He had been wont to regard lo* as a child, un- 
ripe for any but childish amusements, and hardly 
to be trusted alone. Absorbed in his business of 
governing, he had not observed how increase of 
years brought the boy strength, stature, and cor- 
responding tastes. Now he was admonished of 
his neglect ; the stripling should have been fami- 
liarized with bow, sling, and maquahuitt ; men 
ought to have been given him for comrades ; the 
warrior's school, even the actual field, had been 
better for him than the nursery. An idea of 
ambition also occurred to the monarch. When 
he himself was gathered to his fathers, who was 
to succeed him on the throne.^ Cuitlahua, Ca- 
cama, the lord of Tlacopan t Why not lo' } 


Meanwhile the two diligently pursued their 
sport. At the moment the king came upon 
them, Hualpa was giving some directions as to 
the mode of holding the brave weapon. The boy 
listened eagerly, — a sign that pleased the ob- 
server, for nothing is so easy as to flatter the 
hope of a dreamy heart. Observing them further, 
he saw lo* take the stand, draw the arrow quite 
to the head, and strike the target. At the sec- 
ond trial, he pierced the centre. Hualpa em- 
braced the scholar joyously; and thereupon the 
king warmed toward the warrior, and tears blinded 
his eyes. Advancing into the arena, the clang- 
ing of his golden sandals announced his presence. 

And they knelt and kissed the earth. 

"Stand up!" he said, with the smile which 
gave his countenance a womanly beauty. And 
to Hualpa he added, " I thought your palace by 
Chapultepec would be more attractive than the 
practice of arms ; more credit should have been 
given the habits of a hunter. I was right to 
make you noble. But what can you make of lo* ? " 

" If you will give the time, O king, I can make 
him of excellent skill." 

"And what says the son of Tecalco ? " 

lo' knelt again, saying, "I have a pardon to 
ask " — 

" A pardon ! For wishing to be a warrior ? " 

" If the king will hear me, — I have heard you 
say that in your youth you divided your days 
between the camp and the temples, learning at 
the same time the duties of the priest and the 


warrior. That I may be able some day to ser\'e 
you, O king, I have stolen away from Tenoch- 
titlan — " 

Montezuma laid his hand tenderly on the boy's 
head, and said, " No more. I know all you would 
say, and will ask the great Huitzil' to give you 
strength and courage. Take my permission to 
be a warrior. Arise, now, and give me the bow. 
It is long since I pulled the cord, and my hand 
may have weakened, and my eyes become dim ; 
but I challenge you both ! I have a shield 
wrought of pearl and gold, unfit for the field, yet 
beautiful as a prize of skill. Who plants an arrow 
nearest yon target's heart, his the shield shall be." 

The challenge was accepted, and after prepara- 
tion, the monarch dropped his mantle, and took 
the stand. He drew the shaft to his ear with a 
careless show of skill ; and when it quivered in 
the target about a palm's breadth below the mark, 
he said, laughing, " I am at least within the line 
of the good bowman. A Tlascalan would not 
have escaped scarless." 

lo* next took the bow, and was so fortunate as 
to hit the lower edge of the heart squarely above 
the king s bolt. 

"Mine is the shield, mine is the shield! " he 
cried exultantly. " Oh, that a minstrel were 
here ! I would have a song, — my first song ! " 

" Very proud ! " said the king good-humoredly. 
" Know you, boy, the warrior counts his captives 
only when the battle is ended. Here, lord 
Hualpa, the boaster should be beaten. Prove 


your quality. To you there may be more in this 
trial than a song or a golden shield." 

The hunter took the vacant place; his arrow 
whistled away, and the report came back from 
the target. By a happy accident, if such it were, 
the copper point was planted exactly in the mid- 
dle of the space between the other two. 

More joyous than before arose the cry of lo', 
" I have beaten a king and a warrior ! Mine is 
the shield, mine is the shield ! " 

And the king, listening, said to himself, "I 
remember my own youth, and its earliest victory, 
and how I passed from successes at first the most 
trifling. Ah ! who but Huitzil*, father of all the 
gods, can tell the end ? Blessed the day when I 
can set before him the prospect of a throne in- 
stead of a shield ! " 

The target was brought him, and he measured 
the distance of each arrow from the centre ; and 
when he saw how exactly Hualpa's was planted 
between the others, his subtle mind detected the 
purpose and the generosity. 

" The victory is yours, O my son, and so is the 
shield," he said slowly and thoughtfully. "But 
ah ! were it given you to look with eyes like 
mine, — with eyes sharpened by age for the dis- 
covery of blessings, — your rejoicing would be 
over a friend found, whose love is proof against 
vanity and the hope of reward." 

Hualpa understood him, and was proud. What 
was the prize lost to Montezuma gained ? 

" It grows late ; my time is sacred," said the 


king. " Lord Hualpa, stay and guide me to the 
palace. And lo*, be you my courier to the 'tzin. 
Go before, and tell him I am coming." 

The boy ran ahead, and as they leisurely fol- 
lowed him, the monarch relapsed into melancholy. 
In the shade of a ceiba tree he stopped, and said, 
" There is a service you might do me, that lies 
nearer my heart than any other." 

" The will of the great king is mine," Hualpa 
replied, with a low reverence. 

"When I am old," pursued Montezuma, "when 
the things of earth begin to recede from me, it 
would be pleasant to have a son worthy to lift the 
Empire from my shoulders. While I am going 
up the steps of the temple, a seeker of the holy 
peace that lies in worship and prayer, the govern- 
ment would not then be a care to disturb me. 
But I am sensible that no one could thus relieve 
me unless he had the strong hand of a warrior, 
and was fearless except of the gods. lo* is my 
only hope. From you he first caught the desire 
of greatness, and you can make him great. Take 
him as a comrade ; love him as a brother ; teach 
him the elements of war, — to wield spear and 
maqtiahuitl ; to bear shield, to command, and to 
be brave and generous. Show him the ways of 
ambition. Above all," — as he spoke he raised 
his head and hand, and looked the impersonation 
of his idea, — " above all, let him know that a 
king may find his glory as much in the love of 
his people as in his power. Am I understood ? " 

Hualpa did not look up, but said, "Am I 


worthy? I have the skill of hand; but have I 
the learning ? " 

" To make him learned belongs to the priests. 
I only asked you to make him a warrior." 

" Does not that belong to the gods ? *' 

" No : he derives nothing from them but the 
soul. They will not teach him to launch the 

" Then I accept the charge. Shall he go with 
me ? " 

"Always, — even to battle." 

O mighty king ! was the shadow of the com- 
ing fate upon thy spirit then } 


[he visit was unexpected to Guatamo- 
zin, and its object a mystery ; but he 
thought only of paying the guest meet 
honor and respect, for he was still the 
great king. And so, bareheaded and 
unarmed, he went forth, and, meeting 
him in the garden, knelt, and saluted 
him after the manner of the court. 

** I am glad to say the word of welcome 
to my father s brother. Know, O king, 
that my house, my garden, and all you be- 
hold are yours." 
Hualpa left them ; then Montezuma replied, 


the sadness of his voice softening the austerity of 
his manner, — 

" I have loved you well, Guatamozin. Very 
good it was to mark you come up from boyhood, 
and day by day grow in strength and thought. I 
never knew one so rich in promise. Ours is a 
proud race, and you seemed to have all its genius. 
From the beginning you were thoughtful and 
provident ; in the field there was always a victory 
for you, and in council your words were the soul 
of policy. Oh, ill was the day evil came between 
us, and suspicion shattered the love I bore you ! 
Arise ! I have not crossed the lake for explana- 
tions; there is that to speak of more important 
to us both." 

The 'tzin arose, and looked into the monarch's 
face, his own suffused with grief. 

"Is not a king punished for the wrong he 

Montezuma's brows lowered, chilling the fixed 
look which was his only answer; and the 'tzin 
spoke on. 

" I cannot accuse you directly ; but this I will 
say, O king : a just man, and a brave, never con- 
demns another upon suspicion." 

The monarch's eyes blazed with sudden fire, 
and from his tnaxtlatl he drew a knife. The 'tzin 
moved not ; the armed hand stopped ; an instant 
each met the other's gaze, then the weapon was 
flung away. 

" I am a child," said the king, vexed and 
ashamed. " When I came here I did not think 


of the past, I thought only of the Empire ; but 
trouble has devoured my strength of purpose, 
until my power mocks me, and, most miserable 
of men, I yearn to fly from myself, without know- 
ing where to find relief. A vague impulse — 
whence derived, except from intolerable suffering 
of mind, I know not — brought me to you. Oh, 
'tzin, silent be the differences that separate us. 
Yours I know to be a tongue of undefiled truth ; 
and if not for me now, for our country, and the 
renown of our fathers, I believe you will speak." 

The shame, the grief, and the self-accusation 
moved the 'tzin more than the deadly menace. 

" Set my feet, O king ! set my feet in the way 
to serve or save my country, and I will tread it, 
though every step be sown with the terrors of 

" I did not misjudge you, my son,'* the king 
said, when he had again perfectly mastered his 

And Guatamozin, yet more softened, would 
have given him all the old love, but that Tula, 
contracted to the Tezcucan, rose to memory. 
Checking the impulse, he regarded the unhappy 
monarch sorrowfully. 

And the latter, glancing up at the sun, said, — 

" It is getting late. I left the train going to 
the hunting-grounds. By noon they will return, 
and I wish to be at the city before them. My 
canoe lies at the landing ; walk there with me, 
and on the way I will speak of the purpose of my 

Each 7net the other V gaze 


Their steps as they went were slow, and their 
faces downcast and solemn. The king was first 
to speak. 

" As the time requires, I have held many coun- 
cils, and taken the voice of priest, warrior, and 
merchant ; and they agree in nothing but their 
confusion and fear." 

" The king forgets, — I have been barred his 
councils, and know not what they considered.'* 

" True, true ; yet there is but one topic in all 
Anahuac, — in the Empire. Of that, the tamanes 
talk gravely as their masters ; only one class asks, 
' Who are the white men making all this trouble ? ' 
while the other argues, ' They are here ; they are 
gods. What are we to do ? ' " 

" And what say the councils, O king } " 

" It could not be that all would speak as one 
man. Of different castes, they are differently 
moved. The pabas believe the Sun has sent us 
some godly warriors, whom nothing earthly can 
subdue. They advise patience, friendship, and 
peace. * The eye of Huitzil' is on them, number- 
ing their marches. In the shade of the great 
temple he awaits, and there he will consume them 
with a breath,* — so say the pabas. The warriors 
are dumb, or else borrow and reassert the opin- 
ions of the holy men. * Give them gold, if they 
will depart ; if not that, give them peace, and 
leave the issue to the gods,' — so they say. Cui- 
tlahua says war; so does Cacama. The mer- 
chants and the people have no opinion, — nothing 
but fear. For myself, yesterday I was for war, 


to-day I am for peace. So far I have chosen to act 
upon the advice of the pabas. I have sent the 
strangers many presents and friendly messages, 
and kept ambassadors in their camp ; but while 
preserving such relations, I have continually for- 
bade their coming to Tenochtitlan. They seem 
bolder than men. Who but they would have 
undertaken the march from Cempoalla? WTiat 
tribes or people could have conquered Tlascala, 
as they have ? You have heard of their battles. 
Did they not in a day what we have failed to do 
in a hundred years ? With Tlascala for ally, they 
have set my word at naught, and, whether they 
be of the sun or the earth, they are now march- 
ing upon Cholula, most sacred city of the gods. 
And from Cholula there is but one more march. 
Already from the mountains they have looked 
wistfully down on our valley of gardens, upon 
Tenochtitlan. O *tzin, 'tzin, can we forget the 
prophecy ? " 

" Shall I say what I think ? Will the king hear 
me ? '* asked Guatamozin. 

" For that I came. Speak ! " 

" I obey gladly. The opportunity is dearer to 
me than any honor. And, speaking, I will re- 
member of what race I am." 

" Speak as if you were king.*' 

"Then — I condemn your policy." 

The monarch's face remained placid. If the 
bluff words wounded him, he dissembled con- 

" It was not well to go so often to the temple," 


Guatamozin continued. "HuitziF is not there; 
the pabas have only his name, his image and altar ; 
your breast is his true temple ; there ought you to 
find him. Yesterday, you say, you were for war ; 
the god was with you then : to-day you are for 
peace ; the god has abandoned you. I know not 
in what words the lords Cuitlahua and Cacama 
urged their counsel, nor on what grounds. By the 
Sun ! theirs is the only policy that comports with 
the fame of a ruler of Aztecs. Why speak of any 
other.? For me, I would seek the strangers in 
battle and die, sooner than a minstrel should sing, 
or tradition tell, how Guatamozin, overcome by 
fear, dwelt in their camp praying peace as the 
beggar prays for bread." 

Literally, Guatamozin was speaking like a king. 

" I have heard your pearl-divers say," he con- 
tinued, "that they never venture into a strange 
sea without dread. Like the new sea to them, 
this subject has been to your people ; but however 
the declaration may strike your ears, O king, I 
have sounded all its depths. While your priests 
were asking questions of speechless hearts ; while 
your lords were nursing their love of ease in the 
shade and perfume of your palace; while your 
warriors, forgetful of their glory, indulged the 
fancy that the new enemy were gods ; while Mon- 
tezuma was watching stars, and studying omens, 
and listening to oracles which the gods know not, 
hoping for wisdom to be found nowhere as cer- 
tainly as in his own royal instincts, — face to face 
with. the strangers, in their very camp, I studied 


them, their customs, language, and nature. Take 
heart, O king ! Gods, indeed ! Why, like men, 
I have seen them hunger and thirst ; like men, 
heard them complain ; on the other hand, like 
men, I have seen them feed and drink to surfeit, 
and heard them sing from gladness. What means 
their love of gold ? If they come from the Sun, 
where the dwellings of the gods, and the hills 
they are built on, are all of gold, why should they 
be seeking it here ? Nor is that all. I listened 
to the interpreter, through whom their leader 
explained his religion, and they are worshipers, 
like us, only they adore a woman, instead of a 
great, heroic god " — 

" A woman ! " exclaimed the king. 

" Nay, the argument is that they worship at alL 
Gods do not adore each other ! " 

They had now walked some distance, and so 
absorbed had Montezuma been that he had 
not observed the direction they were pursuing. 
Emerging suddenly from a cypress-grove, he was 
surprised to find the path terminate in a small 
lake, which, at any other time, would have excited 
his admiration. Tall trees, draped to their top- 
most boughs in luxuriant vines, encircled the little 
expanse of water, and in its midst there was an 
island, crowned with a kiosk or summer-house, and 
covered with orange shrubs and tapering palms. 

"Bear with me, O king," said Guatamozin, 
observing his wonder. " I brought you here that 
you may be absolutely convinced of the nature of 
our enemies. On that island I have an argument 


Stronger than the vagaries of pabas or the fancies 
of warriors, — a visible argument." 

He stepped into a canoe lying at the foot of 
the path, and, with a sweep of the paddle, drove 
across to the island. Remaining there, he pushed 
the vessel back. 

"Come over, O king, come over, and see." 

Montezuma followed boldly, and was led to the 
kiosk. The retreat was not one of frequent resort. 
Several times they were stopped by vines grown 
across the path. Inside the house, the visitor had 
no leisure for observation ; he was at once arrested 
by an object that filled him with horror. On a 
table was a human head. Squarely severed from 
the body, it stood upright on the ba&e of the neck, 
looking, with its ghastly, white face, directly 
toward the entrance. The features were swollen 
and ferocious ; the black brows locked in a frown, 
with which, as was plainly to be seen, nature had 
as much to do as death ; the hair was short, and 
on the crown almost worn away ; heavy, matted 
beard covered the cheeks and chin ; finally, other 
means of identification being wanted, the coarse, 
upturned mustache would have betrayed the Span- 
iard. Montezuma surveyed the head for some 
time ; at length, mastering his deep loathing, he 
advanced to the table. 

" A teule / " he said, in a low voice. 

"A man, — only a man ! " exclaimed Guatamo- 
zin, so sternly that the monarch shrank as if the 
blue lips of the dead had spoken to him. " Ask 
yourself, O king. Do the gods die ? " 


Montezuma smUed, either at his own alarm or 
at the ghastly argument. 

"Whence came the trophy?" he asked 

" Have you not heard of the battle of Nauh- 

"Surely ; but tell it again." 

"When the strangers marched to Tlascala,*' 
the 'tzin began, "their chief left a g^rison behind 
him in the town he founded. I was then on the 
coast. To convince the people, and particularly 
the army, that they were men, I determined to 
attack them. An opportunity soon occurred. Your 
tax-gatherers happening to visit Nauhtlan, the 
township revolted, and claimed protection of the 
garrison, who marched to their relief. At my 
instance, the caciques drew their bands together, 
and we set upon the enemy. The Totonaques 
fled at our first war-cry; but the strangers wel- 
comed us with a new kind of war. They were few 
in number, but the thunder seemed theirs, and 
they hailed great stones upon us, and after a while 
came against us upon their fierce animals. When 
my warriors saw them come leaping on, they fled. 
All was lost. I had but one thought more, — a 
captive taken might save the Empire. I ran 
where the strangers clove their bloody way. 
This" — and he pointed to the head — "was the 
chief, and I met him in the rout, ragmg like a 
tiger in a herd of deer. He was bold and strong, 
and, shouting his battle-cry, he rushed upon me. 
His spear went through my shield. I wrenched 
it from him, and slew the beast ; then I dragged 


him away, intending to bring him alive to Te- 
nochtitlan ; but he slew himself. So look again ! 
What likeness is there in that to a god ? O king, 
I ask you, did ever its sightless -eyes see the 
glories of the Sun, or its rotting lips sing a song 
in heaven? Is Huitzil' or Tezca* made of such 

The monarch, turning away, laid his hand fa- 
miliarly on the 'tzin's arm, and said, — 

"Come, I am content. Let us go." 

And they started for the landing. 

"The strangers, as I have said, my son, are 
marching to Cholula. And Malinche — so their 
chief is called — now says he is coming to Te- 

"To Tenochtitlan ! In its honored name, in 
the name of its kings and gods, I protest against 
his coming ! " 

" Too late, too late ! " replied Montezuma, his 
face working as though a pang were at his heart. 
" I have invited him to come." 

" Alas, alas ! " cried Guatamozin solemnly. 
" The day he enters the capital will be the com- 
mencement of the woe, if it has not already com- 
menced. The many victories will have been in 
vain. The provinces will drop away, like threaded 
pearls when the string is broken. O king, better 
had you buried your crown, — better for your 
people, better for your own glory! *' 

"Your words are bitter," said the monarch 

" I speak from the fullness of a heart darkened 


by a vision of Anahuac blasted, and her glorj- 
gone," returned the 'tzin. Then in a lament, 
vivid with poetic coloring, he set forth a picture 
of the national ruin, — the armies overthrown, the 
city wasted, the old religion supplanted by a new. 
At the shore where the canoe was waiting, Monte- 
zuma stopped, and said, — 

" You have spoken boldly, and I have listened 
patiently. One thing more : What does Guata- 
mozin say the king should do ? " 

" It is not enough for the servant to know his 
own place ; he should know his master's also. J 
say not what the king should do, but I will say 
what I would do if I were king." 

Rising from the obeisance with which he accom- 
panied the words, he said boldly, — 

"Cholula should be the grave of the invaders. 
The whole population should strike them in the 
narrow streets where they can be best assailed. 
Shut up in some square or temple, hunger will fight 
them for us, and win. But I would not trust the 
citizens alone. In sight of the temples, so close 
that a conch could summon them to the attack, I 
would encamp a hundred thousand warriors. Bet- 
ter the desolation of Cholula than Tenochtitlan. 
If all things else failed, I would take to the last 
resort ; I would call in the waters of Tezcuco and 
drown the city to the highest azoteas. So would 
I, O king, if the crown and signet were mine." 

Montezuma looked from the speaker to the lake. 

"The project is bold," he said musingly; "but 
if it failed, my son } " 


"The failure should be but the beginning of 
the war." 

"What would the nations say ? " 

" They would say, * Montezuma is still the great 
king/ If they do not that " — 

"What then?" 

" Call on the tcotuctli. The gods can be made 
speak whatever your policy demands." 

"Does my son blaspheme.^" said Montezuma 

"Nay, I but spoke of what has happened. 
Long rule the good god of our fathers ! " 

Yet the monarch was not satisfied. Never be- 
fore had discourse been addressed to him in strain 
so bold. 

" They see all things, even our hearts," he said, 
turning coldly away. " Farewell. A courier will 
come for you when your presence is wanted in 
the city." 

And so they separated, conscious that no heal- 
ing had been brought to their broken friendship. 
As the canoe moved off, the 'tzin knelt, but the 
king looked not that way again. 


HAT can they mean? Here have 
they been loitering since morn- 
ing, as if the lake, like the tian- 
giieZy were a place for idlers. 
As I love the gods, if I knew 
them, they should be pun- 
ished ! " 

So the farmer of the chinatnpa heretofore de- 
scribed as the property of the princess Tula gave 
expression to his wrath ; after which he returned 
to his employment ; that is, he went crawling 
among the shrubs and flowers, pruning-knife in 
hand, here clipping a limb, there loosening the 
loam. Emerging from the thicket after a pro- 
tracted stay, his ire was again aroused. 

" Still there ! Thieves may be, watching a 
chance to steal. But we shall see. My work 
is done, and I will not take eyes ofif of them 


/ The good man's alarm was occasioned by the 

occupants of a canoe, which, since sunrise, had 
been plying about the garden, never stationary, 
seldom more than three hundred yards away, yet 
always keeping on the side next the city. Once 
« in a while the slaves withdrew their paddles, leav- 

ing the vessel to the breeze; at such times it 
'^ drifted so near that he could see the voyageurs 

reclining in the shade of the blue canopy, wrapped 
in escaupils such as none but lords or distinguished 
merchants were permitted to wear. 

The leisurely voyageurs, on their part, appeared 
to have a perfect understanding of the light in 
which they were viewed from the chinampa, 

" There he is again ! See ! " said one of them. 

The other lifted the curtain, and looked, and 

"Ah! if we could send an arrow there, just 
near enough to whistle through the orange-trees. 
Tula would never hear the end of the story. He 
would tell her how two thieves came to plunder 
him; how they shot at him; how narrowly he 
escaped " — 

"And how valiantly he defended the garden. 
By Our Mother, lo', I have a mind to try him !" 

Hualpa half rose to measure the distance, but 

fell back at once. " No. Better that we get into 

no difficulty. We are messengers, and have these 

flowers to deliver. Besides, the judge is not to 

• my liking." 

\ "Tula is merciful, and would forgive you for 

the 'tzm's sake." 


" I meant the judge of the court," Hualpa said 
soberly. "You never saw him lift the golden 
arrow, as if to draw it across your portrait. It is 
pleasanter sitting here, in the shade, rocked by 
the water." 

"And pleasanter yet to be made noble and 
master of a palace over by Chapultepec," lo' an- 
swered. " But see ! Yonder is a canoe." 

"From the city? " 

" It is too far oflF ; wait awhile." 

But Hualpa, impatient, leaned over the side, 
and looked for himself. At the time they were 
up in the northern part of the lake, at least a 
league from the capital. Long, regular sweDs, 
something like those of the sea when settling 
into calm, tumbled the surface ; far to the south, 
however, he discerned the canoe, looking no 
larger than a blue-winged gull. 

" It is coming ; I see the prow this way. Is 
the vase ready ? " 

" The vase ! You forget ; there are two of 

Hualpa looked down confused. 

" Does the 'tzin intend them both for Tula ? " 

Hualpa was the more embarrassed. 

"Flowers have a meaning; sometimes they 
tell tales. Let me see if I cannot read what the 
*tzin would say to Tula." 

And lo' went forward and brought the vases, 
and, placing them before him, began to study 
each flower. 

"lo'," said Hualpa in a low voice, "but one of 
the vases is the 'tzin*s." 


"And the other?** asked the prince, looking 

Hualpa's face flushed deeper. 

" The other is mine. Have you not two sis- 

lo's eyes dilated; a moment he was serious, 
then he burst out laughing. 

" I have you now ! Nenetzin, — she, too, has 
a lover." 

The hunter never found himself so at loss ; he 
played with the loops of his escaupil, and refused 
to take his eyes off the coming canoe. Through 
his veins the blood ran merrily; in his brain it 
intoxicated, like wine. 

" I have heard how love makes women of war- 
riors ; now I will see, — I will see how brave you 

" Ho, slaves ! Put the canoe about ; yonder 
are those whom I would meet," Hualpa shouted. 

The vessel was headed to the south. A long 
distance had to be passed, and in the time the 
ambassador recovered himself. Lying down 
again, and twanging the chord of his bow, he 
endeavored to compose a speech to accompany 
the delivery of the vase to Tula, But his 
thoughts would return to his own love; the 
laugh with which lo' received his explanation 
flattered him ; and, true to the logic of the pas- 
sion, he already saw the vase accepted, and him- 
self the favored of Nenetzia From that point 
the world of dreams was but a step distant ; he 
took the step, but was brought back by lo'. 


"They recognize us; Nenetzin waves her 

The approaching vessel was elegant as the art 
of the Aztecan shipmaster could make' it. The 
prow was sculptured into the head and slender, 
curved neck of a swan. The passengers, fair as 
ever journeyed on sea wave, sat under a canopy 
of royal green, above which floated a panache of 
long, trailing feathers, colored like the canopy. 
Like a creature of the water, so lightly, so grace- 
fully, the boat drew nigh the messengers. When 
alongside, lo* sprang aboard, and, with boyish 
ardor, embraced his sisters. 

" What has kept you so ? " 

"We stayed to see twenty thousand warriors 
cross the causeway," replied Nenetzin. 

" Where can they be going } " 


The news excited the boy ; turning to speak to 
Hualpa, he was reminded of his duty. 

"Here is a messenger from Guatamozin, — the 
lord Hualpa, who slew the tiger in the garden." 

The heart of the young warrior beat violently ; 
he touched the floor of the canoe with his palm. 

And Tula spoke. "We have heard the min- 
strels sing the story. Arise, lord Hualpa." 

" The words of the noble Tula are pleasanter 
than any song. Will she hear the message I 
bring } " 

She looked at lo' and Nenetzin, and assented 

" Guatamozin salutes the noble Tula. He 
hopes the blessings of the gods are about her. 


He bade me say, that four mornings ago the king 
visited him at his palace, but talked of nothing 
but the strangers; so that the contract with 
Iztlir, the Tezcucan, still holds good. Further, 
the king asked his counsel as to what should be 
done with the strangers. He advised war, where- 
upon the king became angry, and departed, say- 
ing that a courier would come for the 'tzin when 
his presence was wanted in the city ; so the ban- 
ishment also holds good. And so, finally, there 
is no more hope from interviews with the king. 
All that remains is to leave the cause to time and 
the gods." 

A moment her calm face was troubled ; but 
she recovered, and said, with simple dignity, — 

" I thank you. Is the 'tzin well and patient ? " 

"He is a warrior, noble Tula, and foemen are 
marching through the provinces, like welcome 
guests ; he thinks of them, and curses the peace 
as a season fruitful of dishonor." 

Nenetzin, who had been quietly listening, was 

" Has he heard the news ? Does he not know 
a battle is to be fought in Cholula ? " 

"Such tidings will be medicine to his spirit." 

"A battle!" cried Io\ "Tell me about it, 

" I, too, will listen," said Hualpa ; " for the 
gods have given me a love of words spoken with 
a voice sweeter than the flutes of Tezca\" 

The girl laughed aloud, and was well pleased, 
although she answered, — 


" My father gave me a bracelet this morning-, 
but he did not carry his love so far as to tell me 
his purposes ; and I am not yet a warrior to talk 
to warriors about battles. The lord Maxtla, even 
Tula here, can better tell you of such things." 

" Of what ? " asked Tula. 

*' lo' and his friend wish to know all about the 

The elder princess mused a moment, and then 
said gravely, " You may tell the *tzin, as from me, 
lord Hualpa, that twenty thousand warriors this 
morning marched for Cholula ; that the citizens 
there have been armed ; and to-morrow, the gods 
willing, Malinche will be attacked The king at 
one time thought of conducting the expedition 
himself ; but, by persuasion of the paba, M ualox, 
he has given the command to the lord Cuitlahua." 

lo* clapped his hands. " The gods are kind ; 
let us rejoice, O Hualpa ! What marching of 
armies there will be ! What battles ! Hasten, 
and let us to Cholula; we can be there before 
the night sets in." 

" What ! " said Nenetzin. " Would you fight, 
lo' ? No, no ; come home with us, and I will 
put my parrot in a tree, and you may shoot at 
him all day." 

The boy went to his own canoe, and, returning, 
held up a shield of pearl and gold. " See ! With 
a bow I beat our father and the lord Hualpa, and 
this was the prize." 

" That a shield ! " Nenetzin said. " A ^oy, — 
a mere brooch to a Tlascalan. I have a tortoise- 
shell that will serve you better." 


The boy frowned, and a rejoinder was on his 
lips when Tula spoke. 

** The flowers in your vases are very beautiful, 
lord Hualpa. What altar is to receive the tri- 

Nenetzin's badinage had charmed the ambas- 
sador into forgetfulness of his embassy; so he 
answered confusedly, "The noble Tula reminds 
me of my duty. Before now, standing upon the 
hills of Tihuanco, watching the morning bright- 
ening in the east, I have forgotten myself. I 
pray pardon " — 

Tula glanced archly at Nenetzin. " The morn- 
ing looks pleasant ; doubtless, its worshiper will 
be forgiven.*' 

And then he knew the woman's sharp eyes had 
seen into his inner heart, and that the audacious 
dream he there cherished was exposed ; yet his 
confusion gave place to delight, for the discovery 
had been published with a smile. Thereupon, he 
set one of the vases at her feet, and touched the 
floor with his palm, and said, — 

" I was charged by Guatamozin to salute you 
again, and say that these flowers would tell you 
all his hopes and wishes." 

As she raised the gift, her hand trembled ; then 
he discovered how precious a simple Cholulan vase 
could become ; and with that his real task was be- 
fore him. Taking the other vase, he knelt before 

" I have but little skill in courtierly ways," he 
said. " In flowers I see nothing but their beauty ; 


and what I would have these say is, that if Xe- 
netzin, the beautiful Nenetzin, will accept them, 
she will make me very happy." 

The girl looked at Tula, then at him ; then she 
raised the vase, and, laughing, hid her face in the 

But little more was said ; and soon the lashings 
were cast off, and the vessels separated. 

On the return Hualpa stopped at Tenochtitlan, 
and in the shade of the portico, over a cup of the 
new beverage, now all the fashion, received from 
Xoli the particulars of the contemplated attack 
upon the strangers in Cholula ; for, with his usual 
diligence in the fields of gossip, the broker had 
early informed himself of all that was to be heard 
of the affair. And that night, while lo' dreamed 
of war, and the hunter of love, the 'tzin paced his 
study or wandered through his gardens, feverishly 
solicitous about the result of the expedition. 

" If it fail," he repeated over and over, — "if it 
fail, Malinche will enter Tenochtitlan as a god ! " 


KXT morning Mualox ascended 
the tower of his old Cd. The 
hour was so early that the stars 
were still shining in the east. He 
fed the fire in the great urn until 
it burst into cheery flame ; then, 
spreading his mantle on the roof, 
he lay down to woo back the slumber from which 
he had been taken. By and by, a man, armed 
with a javelin, and clad in cotton mail, came up 
the steps, and spoke to the paba. 

*' Does the servant of his god sleep this morn- 


Mualox arose, and kissed the pavement. 

" Montezuma is welcome. The blessing of the 
gods upon him ! " , 

" Of all the gods, Mualox ? " 

"Of all, — even Quetzal's, O king ! " 

" Arise ! Last night I bade you wait me here. 
I said I would come with the morning star ; yon- 
der it is, and I am faithful. The time is fittest 
for my business." 

Mualox arose, and stood before the monarch 
with bowed head and crossed hands. 

"Montezuma knows his servant." 

"Yet I seek to know him better. Mualox, 
Mualox, have you room for a perfect love aside 
from Quetzal' ? What would you do for me .^ " 

"Ask me rather what I would not do." 

" Hear me, then. Lately you have been a coun- 
cilor in my palace ; with my policy and purposes 
you are acquainted; you knew of the march to 
Cholula, and the ordef- to attack the strangers ; 
you were present when they were resolved" — 

"And opposed them. Witness for me to Que- 
tzal', O king ! " 

"Yes, you prophesied evil and failure from 
them, and for that I seek you now. Tell me, 
O Mualox, spake you then as a prophet ? " 

The paba ventured to look up and study the 
face of the questioner as well as he could in the 
flickering light. 

" I know the vulgar have called me a magician," 
he said slowly ; " and sometimes they have spoken 
of my commerce with the stars. To say that 


either report is true, were wrong to the gods. 
Regardful of them, I cannot answer you; but 
I can say — and its sufficiency depends on your 
wisdom — your slave, O king, is warned of your 
intention. You come asking a sign ; you would 
have me prove my power, that it may be seen." . 

" By the Sun ** — 

" Nay, — if my master will permit, — another 

" I came to hear you ; say on.** 

" You spoke of me as a councilor in the palace. 
How may we measure the value of honors ? By 
the intent with which they are given ? O king, 
had you not thought the poor paba would use his 
power for the betrayal of his god ; had you not 
thought he could stand between you and the 
wrath" — 

" No more, Mualox, no more ! ** said Monte- 
zuma. " I confess I asked you to the palace that 
you might befriend me. Was I wrong to count 
on your loyalty.^ Are you not of Anahuac.^ 
And further; I confess I come now seeking a 
sign. I command you to show me the future ! '* 

"If you do indeed believe me the beloved of 
Quetzsd* and his prophet, then are you bold, — 
even for a king.** 

" Until I wrong the gods, why should I fear ? 
I, too, am a priest.** 

" Be wise, O my master ! Let the future alone ; 
it is sown with sorrows to all you love.** 

" Have done, paba ! ** the king exclaimed an- 
grily. " I am weary, — by the Sun ! I am weary 
of such words.** 


The holy man bowed reverently, and touched 
the floor with his palm, saying, — 

"Mualox lays his heart at his master's feet. 
In the time when his beard was black and his 
spirit young, he began the singing of two songs, 
— one of worship to Quetzal', the other of love 
for Montezuma." 

These words he said tremulously ; and there 
was that in the manner, in the bent form, in the 
low obeisance, which soothed the impatience of 
the king, so that he turned away, and looked out 
over the city. And day began to gild the east ; 
in a short time the sun would claim his own. 
Still the monarch thought, still Mualox stood 
humbly waiting his pleasure. At length the 
former approached the fire. 

" Mualox," he said, speaking slowly, " I crossed 
the lake the other day, and talked with Guata- 
mozin about the strangers. He satisfied me they 
are not teuleSy and, more, he urged me to attack 
them in Cholula." 

" The 'tzin ! ** exclaimed Mualox, in strong sur- 

Montezuma knew the love of the paba for the 
young cacique rested upon his supposed love of 
Quetzal' ; so he continued, — 

"The attack was planned by him; only he 
would have sent a hundred thousand warriors to 
help the citizens. The order is out ; the com- 
panies are there ; blood will run in the streets of 
the holy city to-day. The battle waits on the sun, 
and it is nearly up. Mualox,'* — his manner be- 


came solemn, — " Mualox, on this day's work bides 
my peace. The morning comes : by all your pro- 
phet's power, tell me what the night will bring ! " 

Sorely was the paba troubled. The king's faith 
in his qualities as prophet he saw was absolute, 
and that it was too late to deny the character. 

** Does Montezuma believe the Sun would tell 
me what it withholds from its child } " 

" Quetzal', not the Sun, will speak to you." 

"But Quetzal' is your enemy." 

Montezuma laid his hand on the paba's. "I 
have heard you speak of love for me ; prove it now, 
and your reward shall be princely. I will give 
you a palace, and many slaves, and riches beyond 

Mualox bent his head, and was silent. Enjoy- 
ment of a palace meant abandonment of the old 
Ca and sacred service. Just then the wail of a 
watcher from a distant temple swept faintly by ; he 
heard the cry, and from his surplice drew a trum- 
pet, and through it sung with a swelling voice, — 

" Morning is come ! Morning is come ! To the 
temples, O worshipers ! Morning is come ! " 

And the warning hymn, the same that had been 
heard from the old tower for so many ages, heard 
heralding suns while the city was founding, given 
now, amid the singer's sore perplexity, was an 
assurance to his listening deity that he was faith- 
ful against kingly blandishments as well as kingly 
neglect. While the words were being repeated 
from the many temples, he stood attentive to 
them, then he turned, and said, — 


'* Montezuma is generous to his slave ; but am- 
bition is a goodly tree gone to dust in my heart ; 
and if it were not, O king, what are all your 
treasures to that in the golden chamber ? Nay, 
keep your offerings, and let me keep the temple. 
I hunger after no riches except such as lie in the 
love of Quetzal'/* 

"Then tell me," said the monarch impatiently, 
— " without price, tell me his will." 

" I cannot, I am but a man ; but this much I 
can " — He faltered ; the hands crossed upon his 
breast closed tightly, and the breast labored pain- 

" I am waiting. Speak ! What can you ? " 

" Will the king trust his servant, and go with 
him down into the Cd again ? " 

" To talk with the Morning, this is the place,'* 
said the monarch, too well remembering the 
former introduction to the mysteries of the ancient 

" My master mistakes me for a juggling sooth- 
sayer ; he thinks I will look into the halls of the 
Sun through burning drugs, and the magic of un- 
meaning words. I have nothing to do with the 
Morning ; I have no incantations. I am but the 
dutiful slave of Quetzal', the god, and Montezuma, 
the king." 

The royal listener looked away again, debating 
with his fears, which, it is but just to say, were 
not of harm from the paba. Men unfamiliar with 
the custom do not think lightly of encountering 
things unnatural ; in this instance, moreover, favor 


was not to be hoped from the god through whom 
the forbidden knowledge was to come. But curi- 
osity and an uncontrollable interest in the result 
of the affair in Cholula overcame his apprehensions. 

" I will go with you. I am ready," he said. 

The old man stooped, and touched the roof, 
and, rising, said, " I have a little world of my own, 

king ; and though without sun and stars, and 
the grand harmony which only the gods can give, 
it has its wonders and beauty, and is to me a place 
of perpetual delight. Bide my return a little while. 

1 will go and prepare the way for you." 

Resuming his mantle, he departed, leaving the 
king to study the new-born day. When he came 
back, the valley and the sky were full of the glory 
of the sun full risen. And they descended to the 
azoteaSy thence to the courtyard. Taking a lamp 
hanging in a passage-door, the holy man, with the 
utmost reverence, conducted his guest into the 
labyrinth. At first, the latter tried to recollect 
the course taken, the halls and stairs passed, 
and the stories descended; but the thread was 
too often broken, the light too dim, the way too 
intricate. Soon he yielded himself entirely to his 
guide, and followed, wondering much at the 
massiveness of the building, and the courage 
necessary to live there alone. Ignorant of the 
zeal which had become the motive of the paba's 
life, inspiring him with incredible cunning and 
industry, and equally without a conception of the 
power there is in one idea long awake in the soul 
and nursed into mania, it was not singular that, as 


they went, the monarch should turn the very walls 
into witnesses corroborant of the traditions of the 
temple and the weird claims of its keeper. 

Passing the kitchen, and descending the last 
flight of steps, they came to the trap-door in the 
passage, beside which lay the ladder of ropes. 

"Be of courage a little longer, O king," said 
Mualox, flinging the ladder through the doorway. 
" We are almost there.'* 

And the paba, leaving the lamp above, com- 
mitted himself confidently to the ropes and dark- 
ness below. A suspicion of his madness occurred 
to the king, whose situation called for considera- 
tion ; in fact, he hesitated to follow farther ; twice 
he was called to; and when, finally, he did go 
down, the secret of his courage was an idea that 
they were about to emerge from the dusty cav- 
erns into the freer air of day ; for, while yet in 
the passage, he heard the whistle of a bird, and 
fancied he detected a fragrance as of flowers. 

" Your hand now, O king, and Mualox will lead 
you into his world." 

The motives that constrained the holy man to 
this step are not easily divined. Of all the mys- 
teries of the house, that hall was by him the most 
cherished ; and of all men the king was the last 
whom he would have voluntarily chosen as a par- 
ticipant in its secrets, since he alone had power to 
break them up. The necessity must have been 
very great; possibly he felt his influence and 
peculiar character dependent upon yielding to 
the pressure ; the moment the step was resolved 


upon, however, nothing remained but to use the 
mysteries for the protection of the abod^ and 
with that purpose he went to prepare the way. 

Much study would most of us have required to 
know what was essential to the purpose ; not so 
the paba. He merely trimmed the lamps already 
lighted, and lighted and disposed others. His 
plan was to overwhelm the visitor by the first 
glance ; without warning, without time to study 
details, to flash upon him a crowd of impossibili- 
ties. In the mass, the generality, the whole to- 
gether, a god's hand was to be made apparent 
to a superstitious fancy. 


NSIDE the hall, scarcely a step from 

fl K j^ the curtain, the monarch stopped be- 
mm ^% wildered ; half amazed, half alarmed, 
he surveyed the chamber, now glow- 
ing as with day. Flowers blooming, 
birds singing, shrubbery, thick and 
green as in his own garden. Whence 
came they ? how were they nurtured down so far ? 
And the countless subjects painted on the ceiling 
and walls, and woven in colors on the tapestry, — 
surely they were the work of the same master who 
had wrought so marvelously in the golden cham- 
ber. The extent of the hall, exaggerated by the 


light, impressed him. . Filled with the presence 
of what seemed impossibilities, he cried out, — 

"The abqde of Quetzal'! " 

"No,'* answered Miialox, "not his abode, only 
his temple, — the temple of his own building." 

And from that time it was with the king as if 
the god were actually present. 

The paba read the effect in the monarch's 
manner, — in his attitude, in the softness of his 
tread, in the cloudy, saddened expression of his 
countenance, in the whisper with which he spoke ; 
he read it, and was assured. 

"This way, O king! Though your servant 
cannot let you see into the Sun, or give you the 
sign required, follow him, and he will bring you 
to hear of events in Cholula even as they trans- 
pire. Remember, however, he says now that the 
Cholulans and the twenty thousand warriors will 
fail, and the night bring you but sorrow and 

Along the aisles he conducted him, until they 
came to the fountain, where the monarch stopped 
again. The light there was brighter than in the 
rest of the hall. A number of birds flew up, 
scared by the stranger ; in the space around the 
marble basin stood vases crowned with flowers ; 
the floor was strewn with wreaths and garlands ; 
the water sparkled with silvery lustre; yet all 
were lost on the wondering guest, who saw only 
Tecetl, — a vision, once seen, to be looked at 
again and again. 

Upon a couch, a little apart from the fountain, 


she sat, leaning against a pile of cushions, which 
was covered by a mantle of plumaje. Her gar- 
ments were white, and wholly without ornament ; 
her hair strayed lightly from a wreath upon her 
head; the childish hands lay clasped in her lap; 
upon the soft mattress rested the delicate limbs, 
covered, but not concealed, the soles of the small 
feet tinted with warmth and life, like the pink 
and rose lining of certain shells. So fragile, inno- 
cent, and beautiful looked she, and so hushed 
and motionless withal, — so like a spirituality, — 
that the monarch's quick sensation of sympathy 
shot through his heart an absolute pain. 

" Disturb her not ; let her sleep," he whis- 
pered, waving his hand. 

Mualox smiled. 

" Nay, the full battle-cry of your armies would 
not waken her." 

The influence of the Will was upon her, 
stronger than slumber. Not yet was she to see 
a human being other than the paba, — not even 
the great king. A little longer was she to be 
happy in ignorance of the actual world. Ah, 
many, many are the victims of affection unwise in 
its very fullness ! 

Again and again the monarch scanned the 
girFs face, charmed, yet awed. The paba had 
said the sleep was wakeless ; and that was a 
mystery unreported by tradition, unknown to his 
philosophy, and rarer, if not greater, than death. 
If life at all, what kind was it } The longer he 
looked and reflected, the lovelier she grew. So 


completely was his credulity gained that he 
thought not once of questioning Mualox about 
her ; he was content with believing. 

The paba, meantime, had been holding one of 
her hands, and gazing intently in her face. When 
he looked up, the monarch was startled by his 
appearance ; his air was imposing, his eyes lighted 
with the mesmeric force. 

" Sit, O king, and give ear. Through the 
lips of his child. Quetzal' will speak, and tell you 
of the day in Cholula." 

He spoke imperiously, and the monarch obeyed. 
Then, disturbed only by the chiming of the foun- 
tain, and sometimes by the whistling of the birds, 
Tecetl began, and softly, brokenly, unconsciously 
told of the massacre in the holy city of Cholula. 
Not a question was asked her. There was little 
prompting aloud. Much did the king marvel, 
never once doubted he. 

"The sky is very clear," said Tecetl. "I rise 
into the air ; I leave the city in the lake, and the 
lake itself ; now the mountains are below me. Lo, 
another city ! I descend again ; the azoteas of a 
temple receives me ; around are great houses. 
Who are these I see.? There, in front of the 
temple, they stand, in lines ; even in the shade 
their garments glisten.' They have shields ; some 
bear long lances, some sit on strange animals that 
have eyes of fire and ring the pavement with their 

" Does the king understand ? " asked Mualox. 

" She describes the strangers," was the reply. 


And Tecetl resumed. " There is one standing 
in the midst df a throng ; he speaks, they listen. 
I cannot repeat his words, or understand them, 
for they are not like ours. Now I see his face, 
and it is white ; his eyes are black, and his cheeks 
bearded ; he is angry ; he points to the city around 
the temple, and his voice grows harsh, and his 
face dark." 

The king approached a step, and whispered, 

But Mualox replied with flashing eyes, "The 
servant knows his god ; it is Quetzal' ! ** 

" He speaks, I listen," Tecetl continued, after 
a rest, and thenceforth her sentences were given 
at longer intervals. " Now he is through ; he 
waves his hand, and the listeners retire, and go 
to different quarters ; in places they kindle fires ; 
the gates are open, and some station themselves 

" Named she where this is happening } " asked 

" She describes the strangers ; and are they not 
in Cholula, O king ? She also spoke of the asa- 
teas of a t-emple " — 

"True, true," replied the king moodily. " The 
preparations must be going on in the square of 
the temple in which Malinche was lodged last 

Tecetl continued. " And now I look down the 
street ; a crowd approaches from the city " — 

" Speak of them," said Mualox. " I would 
know who they are." 


"Most of them wear long beards and robes, 
like yours, father, — robes white and reaching 
to their feet ; in front a few come, swinging 
censers " — 

"They are pabas from the temples," said 

" Behind them I see a greater crowd," she con- 
tinued. " How stately their step ! how beautiful 
their plumes ! " 

"The twenty thousand! the army!" said 

"No, she speaks of them as plumed They 
must be lords and caciques going to the temple." 
While speaking, the monarch's eyes wandered 
restlessly, and he sighed, saying, " Where can the 
companies be.^ It is time they were in the city." 

So his anxiety betrayed itself. 

Then Mualox said grimly, " Hope not, O king. 
The priests and caciques go to death ; the army 
would but swell the flow of blood." 

Montezuma clapped his hands, and drooped his 

"Yet more," said Tecetl almost immediately; 
" another crowd comes on, a band reaching far 
down the street ; they are naked, and come with- 
out order, bringing " — 

" The tamanesy' said Mualox, without looking 
from her face. 

"And now," she said, "the city begins to stir. 
I look, and on the housetops and temples hosts 
collect ; from all the towers the smoke goes up 
in bluer columns ; yet all is still. Those who 


carry the censers come near the gate below me ; 
now they are within it ; the plumed train follows 
them, and the square begins to fill. Back by the 
great door, on one of the animals, the god " — 

" Quetzal*," muttered Mualox. 

"A company, glistening, surrounds him; his 
face seems whiter than before, his eyes darker ; a 
shield is on his arm, white plumes toss above his 
head. The censer-bearers cross the square, and 
the air thickens with a sweet perfume. Now he 
speaks to them ; his voice is harsh and high ; 
they are frightened; some kneel, and begin to 
pray as to a god ; others turn and start quickly 
for the gate." 

" Take heed, take heed, O king ! " said Mualox, 
his eyes aflame. 

And Montezuma answered, trembling with fear 
and rage, " Has Anahuac no gods to care for her 

"What can they against the Supreme Que- 
tzal'.? It is a trial of power. The end is at 
hand ! " 

Never man spoke more confidently than the 

By this time Tecetl's face was flushed, and her 
voice faint. Mualox filled the hollow of his hand 
with water, and laved her forehead. And she 
sighed wearily and continued, — 

*' The fair-faced god " — 

" Mark the words, O king, — mark the words ! " 
said the paba. 

" The fair-faced god quits speaking ; he waves 


his hand, and one of his company on the steps of 
the temple answers with a shout. Lo ! a stream 
of fire, and a noise like the bursting of a. cloud ! a 
rising, rolling cloud of smoke veils the whole 
front of the house. How the smoke thickens! 
How the strangers rush into the square ! The 
square itself trembles ! I do not understand it, 
father " — 

" It is battle ! On, child ! a king waits to see 
a god in battle." 

" In my pictures there is nothing like this, nor 
have you told me of anything like it. Oh, it is fear- 
ful ! " she said. " The crowd in the middle of the 
square, those who came from the city, are broken, 
and rush here and there ; at the gates they are 
beaten back ; some, climbing the walls, are struck 
by arrows, and fall down screaming. Hark ! how 
they call on the gods, — Huitzil', Tezca*, Quetzal*. 
And why are they not heard ? Where, father, 
where is the good Quetzal' ? " 

Flashed the paba's eyes with the superhuman 
light, — other answer he deigned not ; and she 

" What a change has come over the square ! 
Where are they that a while ago filled it with 
white robes and dancing plumes ? " 

She shuddered visibly. 

" I look again. The pavement is covered with 
heaps of the fallen, and among them I see some 
with plumes and some with robes ; even the cen- 
ser-bearers lie still. What can it mean ? And 
all the time the horror grows. When the thunder 


and fire and smoke burst from near the temple- 
steps, how the helpless in the square shriek with 
terror and run blindly about ! How many are 
torn to pieces ! Down they go ; I cannot count 
them, they fall so fast, and in such heaps ! Then 
— ah, the pavement looks red ! Oh, father, it is 
blood ! " 

She stopped. Montezuma covered his face with 
his hands ; the good heart that so loved his peo- 
ple sickened at their slaughter. 

Again Mualox bathed her face. Joy flamed in 
his eyes ; Quetzal* was consummating his ven- 
geance, and confirming the prophecies of his 

"Go on; stay not!" he said sternly. "The 
story is not told." 

" Still the running to and fro, and the scream- 
ing ; still the fire flashing, and the smoke rising, 
and the hissing of arrows and sound of blows; 
still the prayers to Huitzil'!'* said Tecetl. "I 
look down, and under the smoke, which has a 
choking smell, I see the fallen. Red pools gather 
in the hollow places, plumes are broken, and robes 
are no longer white. Oh, the piteous looks I see, 
the moans I hear, the many faces, brown like 
oak-leaves faded, turned stilly up to the sun ! " 

"The people of the god, — tell of them," said 

" I search for them, — I see them on the steps 
and out by the walls and the gates. They are all 
in their places yet ; not one of them is down ; 
theirs the arrows, and the fire and thunder." 


" Does the king hear ? " asked Mualox. " Only 
the pabas and caciques perish. Who may pre- 
sume to oppose Quetzal' ? Look further, child. 
Tell us of the city." 

" Gladly, most gladly ! Now, abroad over the 
city. The people quit the housetops ; they run 
from all directions to the troubled temple ; they 
crowd the streets ; about the gates, where the 
gods are, they struggle to get into the square, 
and the air thickens with their arrows. The 

" What god .? '' asked Mualox. 

"The white-plumed one." 

" Quetzal' ! Go on ! " 

" He has " — She faltered. 


"In my pictures, father, there is nothing like 
them. Fire leaps from their mouths, and smoke, 
and the air and earth tremble when they speak ; 
and see — ah, how the crowds in the streets go 
down before them ! " 

Again she shuddered, and faltered. 

" Hear, O king ! " said Mualox, who not only 
recognized the cannon of the Spaniards in the 
description, but saw their weight at that moment 
as an argument. " What can the slingers, and 
the spearmen of Chinantla, and the swordsmen 
of Tenochtitlan, against warriors of the Sun, with 
their lightning and thunder ! " 

And he looked at the monarch, sitting with 
his face covered, and was satisfied. With facul- 
ties sharpened by a zeal too fervid for sympathy, 


he saw the fears of the proud but kindly soul, 
and rejoiced in them. Yet he permitted no delay. 

" Go on, child ! Look for the fair-faced god ; 
he holds the battle in his hand.'* 

" I see him, — I see his white plumes nodding 
in a group of spears. Now he is at the main gate 
of the temple, and speaks. Hark ! The earth is 
shaken by another roar, — from the street another 
great cry; and through the smoke, out of the 
gate, he leads his band. And the animals,— 
what shall I call them ? " 

" Tell us of the god ! " replied the enthusiast, 
himself ignorant of the name and nature of the 

"Well, well, — they run like deer; on them 
the god and his comrades plunge into the masses 
in the street ; beating back and pursuing, striking 
with their spears, and trampling down all in their 
way. Stones and arrows are flung from the 
houses, but they avail nothing. The god shouts 
joyously, he plunges on ; and the blood flows 
faster than before ; it reddens the shields, it 
drips from the spear-points" — 

"Enough, Mualox!" said Montezuma, starting 
from his seat, and speaking firmly. " I want no 
more. Guide me hence ! " 

The paba wais surprised; rising slowly, he 
asked, — 

" Will not the king stay to the end f *' 

" Stay ! '* repeated the monarch, with curling 
lip. " Are my people of Cholula wolves that I 
should be glad at their slaughter ? It is murder, 


massacre, not battle! Show me to the roof 
again. Come ! " 

Mualox turned to Tecetl ; touching her hand, 
he found it cold ; the sunken eyes, and the lips, 
vermeil no longer, admonished him of the delicacy 
of her spirit and body. He filled a vase at the 
fountain, and laved her face, the while soothingly 
repeating, " Tecetl, Tecetl, child ! *' Some minutes 
were thus devoted ; then kissing her, and repla- 
cing the hand tenderly in the other lying in her 
lap, he said to the monarch, — 

" Until to-day, O king, this sacredness has been 
sealed from the generations that forsook the reli- 
gion of Quetzal*. Eye of mocker has not seen, 
nor foot of unbeliever trod this purlieu, the last 
to receive his blessing. You alone — I am of the 
god — you alone can go abroad knowing what is 
here. Never before were you so nearly face to 
face with the Ruler of the Winds ! And now, 
with what force a servant may, I charge you, by 
the glory of the Sun, respect this house; and 
when you think of it, or of what here you have 
seen, be it as friend, lover, and worshiper. If 
the king will follow me, I am ready." 

"I am neither mocker nor unbeliever. Lead 
on," replied Montezuma. 

And after that, the king paid no attention to 
the chamber; he moved along the aisles too 
unhappy to be curious. The twenty thousand 
warriors had not been mentioned by Tecetl ; they 
had not, it would seem, entered the city or the 
battle, so there was a chance of the victory ; yet 


was he hopeless, for never a doubt had he of her 
story. Wherefore, his lamentation was twofold, — 
for his people and for himself. 

And Mualox was silent as the king, though for 
a different cause. To him, suddenly, the object 
of his life put on the garb of quick possibility. 
Quetzal', he was sure, would fill the streets of 
Cholula with the dead, and crown his wrath amid 
the ruins of the city. In the face of example so 
dreadful, none would dare oppose him, not even 
Montezuma, whose pride broken was next to his 
faith gained. And around the new-born hope, as 
chenibs around the Madonna, rustled the wings of 
fancies most exalted. He saw the supremacy of 
Quetzal' acknowledged above all others, the Cd 
restored to its first glory, and the silent cells 
repeopled. O happy day ! Already he heard the 
courtyard resounding with solemn chants as of 
old; and before the altar, in the presence-cham- 
ber, from morn till night he stood, receiving oflFer- 
ings, and dispensing blessings to the worshipers 
who, with a faith equal to his own, believed the 
ancient image the One Supreme God. 

At the head of the eastern steps of the temple, 
as the king began the descent, the holy man knelt, 
and said, — 

" For peace to his people let the wise Monte- 
zuma look to Quetzal*. Mualox gives him his 
blessing. Farewell.'* 


FEW weeks more, — weeks of 
pain, vacillation, embassies, and 
distracted councils to Montezuma ; 
8 of doubt and anxiety to the nobles ; 
of sacrifice and ceremonies by the 
priests ; of fear and wonder to the people. In 
that time, if never before, the Spaniards became 
the one subject of discourse throughout Anahuac. 
In the tiangtiez, merchants bargaining paused to 
interchange opinions about them ; craftsmen in the 
shops entertained and frightened each other with 


Stories of their marvelous strength and ferocity ; 
porters, bending under burdens, speculated on 
their character and mission ; and never a water- 
man passed an acquaintance on the lake, without 
lingering awhile to ask or give the latest news 
from the Holy City, which, with the best grace it 
could, still entertained its scourgers. 

What Malinche — for by that name Cortes was 
now universally known — would do was the first 
conjecture ; what the great king intended was the 

As a matter of policy, the dismal massacre in 
Cholula accomplished all Cortes proposed ; it made 
him a national terror ; it smoothed the causeway 
for his march, and held the gates of Xoloc open 
for peaceful entry into Tenochtitlan. Yet the 
question on the many tongues was, Would he 
come ? 

And he himself answered. One day a cou- 
rier ran up the great street of Tenochtitlan to 
the king's palace; immediately the portal was 
thronged by anxious citizens. That morning Ma- 
linche began his march to the capital, — he was 
coming, was actually on the way. The thousands 
trembled as they heard the news. 

After that the city was not an hour without 
messengers reporting the progress of the Span- 
iards, whose every step and halt and camping- 
place was watched with the distrust of fear and 
the sleeplessness of jealousy. The horsemen and 
footmen were all numbered ; the personal appear- 
ance of each leader was painted over and over 

Craftsmen entertained and frightened each other with 



again with brush and tongue ; the devices on the 
shields and pennons were described with heraldic 
accuracy. And though, from long service and 
constant exposure and repeated battles, the equip- 
ments of the adventurers had lost the freshness 
that belonged to them the day of the departure 
from Cuba ; though plumes and scarfs were stained, 
and casques and breastplates tarnished, and good 
steeds tamed by strange fare and wearisome 
marches, nevertheless the accounts that went 
abroad concerning them were sufficiently splen- 
did and terrible to confirm the prophecies by 
which they were preceded. 

And the people, made swift by alarm and curi- 
osity, outmarched Cortes many days. Before he 
reached Iztapalapan, the capital was full of them ; 
in multitudes, lords and slaves, men, women, and 
children, like Jews to the Passover, scaled the 
mountains, and hurried through the valley and 
across the lakes. Better opportunity to study the 
characteristics of the tribes was never afforded. 

All day and night the public resorts — streets, 
houses, temples — were burdened with the multi- 
tude, whose fear, as the hour of entry drew nigh, 
yielded to their curiosity. And when, at last, the 
road the visitors would come by was settled, 
the whole city seemed to breathe easier. From 
the village of Iscalpan, so ran the word, they had 
boldly plunged into the passes of the Sierra, and 
thence taken the directest route by way of Tlal- 
manalco. And now they were at Ayotzinco, a 
town on the eastern shore of lake Tezcuco; to- 


morrow they would reach Iztapalapan, and then 
Tenochtitlan. Not a long time to wait, if they 
brought the vengeance of Quetzal' ; yet thousands 
took canoes, and crossed to the village, and, catch- 
ing the first view, hurried back, each with a fancy 
more than ever inflamed. 

A soldier, sauntering down the street, is beset 
with citizens. 

"A pleasant day, O son of Huitzil*! ** 

" A pleasant day ; may all that shine on Tenoch- 
titlan be like it ! " he answers. 

"What news.?" 

" I have been to the temple" 

" And what says the teotuctli now ? " 

" Nothing. There are no signs. Like the stars, 
the hearts of the victims will not answer." 

"What ! Did not Huitzil' speak last night .^ " 

" Oh, yes ! " And the warrior smiles with satis- 
faction. " Last night he bade the priests tell the 
king not to oppose the entry of Malinche." 

"Then what?" 

" Why, here in the city he would cut the stran- 
gers off to the last one." 

And all the citizens cry in chorus, "Praised 
be Huitzir ! " 

Farther on the warrior overtakes a comrade in 

"Are we to take our shields to the field, O my 
brother.?" he asks. 

"All is peaceful yet, — nothing but embassies." 

"Is it true that the lord Cacama is to go in 
state, and invite Malinche to Tenochtitlan } " 


"He sets out to-day." 

" Ha, ha ! Of all voices for war, his was the 
loudest. Where caught he the merchant's cry for 
peace ? " 

** In the temples ; it may be from Huitzir." 

The answer is given in a low voice, and with an 
ironic laugh. 

" Well, well, comrade, there are but two lords 
fit, in time like this, for the love of warriors, — 
Cuitlahua and Guatamozin. They still talk of war.'* 

" Cuitlahua, Cuitlahua ! " And the laugh rises 
to boisterous contempt. " Why, he has consented 
to receive Malinche in Iztapalapan, and entertain 
him with a banquet in his palace. He has gone 
for that purpose now. The lord of Cojohuaca is 
with him." 

"Then we have only the 'tzin ! " 

The fellow sighs like one sincerely grieved. 

" Only the 'tzin, brother, only the 'tzin ! and he 
is banished!" 

They shake their heads, and look what they 
dare not speak, and go their ways. The gloom 
they take with them is a sample of that which 
rests over the whole valley. 

When the Spaniards reached Iztapalapan, the 
excitement in the capital became irrepressible. 
The cities were but an easy march apart, most of 
it along the causeway. The going and coming 
may be imagined. The miles of dike were covered 
by a continuous procession, while the lake, in a 
broad line from town to town, was darkened by 
canoes. Cortes' progress through the streets of 


Iztapalapan was antitypical of the grander recep- 
tion awaiting him in Tenochtitlan. 

In the latter city there was no sleep that night. 
The tianguez in particular was densely filled, not 
by traders, but by a mass of newsmongers, who 
hardly knew whether they were most pleased or 
alarmed. The general neglect of business had 
exceptions ; at least one portico shone with un- 
usual brilliancy till morning. Every great mer- 
chant is a philosopher ; in the midst of calamities, 
he is serene, because it is profit's time ; before the 
famine, he buys up all the corn ; in forethought 
of pestilence, he secures all the medicine : and the 
world, counting his gains, says delightedly, 'WTiat 
a wise man ! I will not say the Chalcan was of 
that honored class ; he thought himself a bene- 
factor, and was happy to accommodate the lords, 
and help them divide their time between his palace 
and that of the king. It is hardly necessary to 
add, that his apartments were well patronized, 
though, in truth, his pulque was in greater demand 
than his choclatL 

The drinking-chamber, about the close of the 
third quarter of the night, presented a lively 
picture. For the convenience of the many patrons, 
tables from other rooms had been brought in. 
Some of the older lords were far gone in intoxica- 
tion ; slaves darted to and fro, removing goblets, 
or bringing them back replenished. A few min- 
strels found listeners among those who happened 
to be too stupid to talk, though not too sleepy to 
drink. Every little while a newcomer would enter. 


when, if he were from Iztapalapan, a crowd would 
surround him, allowing neither rest nor refresh- 
ment until he had told the things he had seen or 
heard. Amongst others, Hualpa and lo' chanced 
to find their way thither. Maxtla, seated at a 
table with some friends, including the Chalcan, 
called them to him ; and, as they had attended 
the banquet of the lord Cuitlahua, they were 
quickly provided with seats, goblets, and an 
audience of eager listeners. 

"Certainly, my good chief, I have seen Ma- 
linche, and passed the afternoon looking at him 
and his people," said Hualpa to Maxtla. " It may 
be that I am too much influenced by the 'tzin to 
judge them; but, if they are teules^ so are we. 
I longed to try my javelin on them.'* 

"Was their behavior unseemly.?" 

"Call it as you please. I was in the train 
when, after the banquet, the lord Cuitlahua took 
them to see his gardens. As they strode the 
walks, and snuffed the flowers, and plucked the 
fruit ; as they moved along the canal with its lining 
of stone, and stopped to drink at the fountains, — I 
was made feel that they thought everything — 
not merely my lord's property, but my lord him- 
self — belonged to them ; they said as much by 
their looks and actions, by their insolent swagger." 

" Was the 'tzin there } " 

"From the azoteas of a temple he saw them 
enter the city; but he was not at the banquet. 
I heard a story showing how he would treat the 
strangers, if he had the power. One of their 


priests, out with a party, came to the temple 
where he happened to be, and went up to the 
tower. In the sanctuary one of them raised his 
spear and struck the image of the god. The pabas 
threw up their hands and shrieked ; he rushed 
upon the impious wretch, and carried him to the 
sacrificial stone, stretched him out, and called to 
the pabas, ' Come, the victim is ready ! ' When 
the other teules would have attacked him, he 
offered to fight them all The strange priest in- 
terfered, and they departed." 

The applause of the bystanders was loud and 
protracted; when it had somewhat abated, Xoli, 
whose thoughts, from habit, ran chiefly upon the 
edibles, said, — 

" My lord Cuitlahua is a giver of good suppers. 
Pray, tell us about the courses " — 

"Peace! be still, Chalcan ! " cried Maxtla, 
angrily. "What care we whether Malinche ate 
wolf -meat or quail } " 

Xoli bowed ; the lords laughed. 

Then a gray-haired cacique behind lo* asked, 
"Tell us rather what Malinche said." 

Hualpa shook his head. "The conversation 
was tedious. Everything was said through an 
interpreter, — a woman born in the province Pai- 
nalla ; so I paid little attention. I recollect, how- 
ever, he asked many questions about the great 
king, and about the Empire, and Tenochtitlan. 
He said his master, the governor of the universe, 
had sent him here. He gave much time, also, \.o 
explaining his religion. I might have understood 

From the azoteas he saw them enter the city 


him, uncle, but my ears were too full of the rattle 
of arms." 

" What ! Sat they at the table armed ? " asked 

"All of them ; even Malinche." 

"That was not the worst," said lo' earnestly. 
"At the same table my lord Cuitlahua entertained 
a band of beggarly Tlascalan chiefs. Sooner 
should my tongue have been torn out ! " 

The bystanders made haste to approve the 
sentiment, and for a time it diverted the conversa- 
tion. Meanwhile, at Hualpa's order, the goblets 
were refilled. 

"Dares the noble Maxtla," he then asked, "tell 
what the king will do .^ " 

" The question is very broad." And the chief 
smiled. " What special information does my com- 
rade seek.?" 

"Can you tell us when Malinche will enter 
Tenochtitlan ? " 

"Certainly. Xoli published that in the tian- 
giiez before the sun was up." 

" To be sure," answered the Chalcan. " The 
lord Maxtla knows the news cost me a bowl of 

There was much laughter, in which the chief 
joined. Then he said gravely, — 

"The king has arranged everything. As ad- 
vised by the gods, Malinche enters Tenochtitlan 
day after to-morrow. He will leave Iztapalapan 
at sunrise, and march to the causeway by the 
lake shore. Cuitlahua, with Cacama, the lord of 


Tecuba, and others of like importance, will meet 
him at Xoloc. The king will follow them in state. 
As to the procession, I will only say it were ill to 
lose the sight. Such splendor was never seen on 
the causeway." 

Ordinarily the mention of such a prospect 
would have kindled the liveliest enthusiasm ; for 
the Aztecs were lovers of spectacles, and never 
so glad as when the great green banner of the 
Empire was brought forth to shed its solemn 
beauty over the legions, and along the storied 
street of Tenochtitlan. Much, therefore, was 
Maxtla surprised at the coldness that fell upon 
the company. 

" Ho, friends ! One would think the reception 
not much to your liking," he said. 

" We are the king's, — dust under his feet, — 
and it is not for us to murmur," said a sturdy 
cacique, first to break the disagreeable silence 
" Yet our fathers gave their enemies bolts instead 
of banquets." 

" Who may disobey the gods ? " asked Maxtla. 

The argument was not more sententious than 

" Well, well ! " said Hualpa. " I will get ready. 
Advise me, good chief: had I better take a 
canoe ? " 

" The procession will doubtless be better seen 
from the lake ; but to hear what passes between 
the king and Malinche, you should be in the 
train. By the way, will the 'tzin be present ? " 

" As the king may order," replied Hualpa. 


Maxtla threw back his look, and said with 
enthusiasm, real or affected, " Much would I like 
to see and hear him when the Tlascalans come 
flying their banners into the city ! How he will 
flame with wrath ! " 

Then Hualpa considerately changed the direc- 
tion of the discourse. 

" Malinche will be a troublesome guest, if only 
from the number of his following. Will he be 
lodged in one of the temples ? " 

"A temple, indeed ! " And Maxtla laughed 
scornfully. "A temple would be fitter lodging 
for the gods of Mictlan ! At Cempoalla, you 
recollect, the Uu/es threw down the sacred gods, 
and butchered the pabas at the altars. Lest they 
should desecrate a holy house here, they are as- 
signed to the old palace of Axaya'. To-morrow 
the tamanes will put it in order." 

lo' then asked, " Is it known how long they 
will stay } " 

Maxtla shrugged his shoulders, and drank his 

" Hist ! " whistled a cacique. " That is what 
the king would give half his kingdom to know ! " 

"And why.^" asked the boy, reddening. "Is 
he not master } Does it not depend upon him } " 

" It depends upon no other ! " cried Maxtla, 
dashing his palm upon the table until the gob- 
lets danced. " By the holy gods, he has but to 
speak the word, and these guests will turn to vic- 
tims ! " 

And Hualpa, surprised at the display of spirit, 


seconded the chief : " Brave words, O my lord 
Maxtla ! They give us hope/' 

"He will treat them graciously," Maxtla con- 
tinued, " because they come by his request ; but 
when he tells them to depart, if they obey not, — 
if they obey not, — when was his vengeance other 
than a king's ? Who dares say he cannot, by a 
word, end this visit ? " 

" No one ! " cried Io\ 

"Ay, no one! But the goblets are empty. 
See! lo*, good prince," — and Maxtla's voice 
changed at once, — "would another draught be 
too much for us ? We drink slowly ; one more, 
only one. And while we drink, we will forget 

" Would that were possible ! " sighed the boy. 

They sent up the goblets, and continued the 
session until daylight. 



AME the eighth of November, 
which no Spaniard, himself a Con- 
quistador, can ever forget ; that day 
Cortes entered Tenochtitlan. 

The morning dawned over Ana- 
huac as sometimes it dawns over 
the Bay of Naples, bringing an azure haze in 
which the world seemed set afloat. 

" Look you, uncles," said Montezuma, yet at 
breakfast, and speaking to his councilors, "they 
are to go before me, my heralds ; and as Malin- 
che is the servant of a king, and used to courtly 
styles, I would not have them shame me. Admit 
them with the nequen off. As they will appear 
before him, let them come to me." 

And thereupon four nobles were ushered in, 
full-armed, even to the shield. Their helms were 
of glittering silver ; their escaupileSy or tunics of 
quilted mail, were stained vivid green, and at the 
neck and borders sparkled with pearls ; over their 
shoulders hung graceful mantles of plumajey softer 


than cramoisy velvet ; upon their breasts blazed 
decorations and military insignia ; from wrist to 
elbow, and from knee to sandal-strap, their arms 
and legs were sheathed in scales of gold. And 
so, ready for peaceful show or mortal combat, — 
his heroes and ambassadors, — they bided the 
monarch's careful review. 

" Health to you, my brothers ! and to you, my 
children ! " he said with satisfaction. " What of 
the morning ? How looks the sun ? " 

" Like the beginning of a great day, O king, 
which we pray may end happily for you," replied 

" It is the work of Huitzil' ; doubt not ! I have 
called you, O my children, to see how well my 
fame will be maintained. I wish to show Malin- 
che a power and beauty such as he has never 
seen, unless he come from the Sun itself. Earth 
has but one valley of Anahuac, one city of Te- 
nochtitlan : so he shall acknowledge. Have you 
directed his march as I ordered i *' 

And Cacama replied, " Through the towns and 
gardens, he is to follow the shore of the lake to 
the great causeway. By this time he is on the 

Then Montezuma's face flushed; and, lifting 
his head as it were to look at objects afar off, he 
said aloud, yet like one talking to himself, — 

" He is a lover of gold, and has been heard 
speak of cities and temples and armies; of his 
people numberless as the sands. Oh, if he be a 
man, with human weaknesses, — if he has hope, 


or folly of thought, to make him less tnan a god, 
— ere the night fall he shall give me reverence. 
Sign of my power shall he find at every step : 
cities built upon the waves ; temples solid and 
high as the hills; the lake covered with canoes 
and gardens ; people at his feet, like stalks in the 
meadow ; my warriors ; and Tenochtitlan, city of 
empire ! And then, if he greet me with hope or 
thought of conquest, — then " — he shuddered. 

"And then what ? " said Cuitlahua, upon whom 
not a word had been lost. 

The thinker, startled, looked at him coldly, 

" I will take council of the gods." 

And for a while he returned to his choclatL 
When next he looked up, and spoke, his face was 
bright and smiling. 

" With a train, my children, you are to go in 
advance of me, and meet Malinche at Xoloc. 
Embrace him, speak to him honorably, return 
with him, and I will be at the first bridge outside 
the city. Cuitlahua and Cacama, be near when 
he steps forward to salute me. I will lean upon 
your shoulders. Get you gone now. Remember 
Anahuac ! '* 

Shortly afterward a train of nobles, magnifi- 
cently arrayed, issued from the palace, and 
marched down the great street leading to the 
Iztapalapan causeway. The house tops, the por- 
ticoes, even the roofs and towers of temples, and 
the pavements and cross-streets, were already oc- 
cupied by spectators. At the head of the pro- 


cession strode the four heralds. Silently they 
marched, in silence the populace received them. 
The spectacle reminded very old men of the day 
the great Axaya' was borne in mournful pomp to 
Chapultepec. Once only there was a cheer, or, 
rather, a war-cry from the warriors looking down 
from the terraces of a temple. So the cortege 
passed from the city ; so, through a continuous 
lane of men, they moved along the causeway ; so 
they reached the gates of Xoloc, at which the 
two dikes, one from Iztapalapan, the other from 
Cojohuaca, intersected each other. There they 
halted, waiting for Cortes. 

And while the train was on the road, out of 
one of the gates of the royal garden passed a 
palanquin, borne by four slaves in the king's 
livery. The occupants were the princesses Tula 
and Nenetzin, with Yeteve in attendance. In 
any of the towns of old Spain there would have 
been much remark upon the style of carriage, 
but no denial of their beauty, or that they were 
Spanish born. The elder sister was thoughtful 
and anxious ; the younger kept constant lookout ; 
the priestess, at their feet, wove the flowers 
with which they were profusely supplied into 
ramilletes, and threw them to the passers-by. 
The slaves, when in the great street, turned to 
the north. 

" Blessed Lady ! " cried Yeteve. " Was the 
like ever seen t " 

" What is it ? " asked Nenetzin. 

" Such a crowd of people ! " 


Nenetzin looked out again, saying, " I wish I 
could see a noble or a warrior.*' 

"That may not be," said Tula. "The nobles 
are gone to receive Malinche; the warriors are 
shut up in the temples." 

"Why so.?" 

" They may be needed." 
' " Ah ! was it thought there is such danger ? 
But look, see ! " And Nenetzin drew back 
alarmed, yet laughing. 

There was a crash outside, and a loud shout, 
and the palanquin stopped. Tula drew the cur- 
tain quickly, not knowing but that the peril re- 
quiring the soldiery was at hand A vendor of 
little stone images, — teot/s, or household gods, — 
unable to get out of the way, had been run upon 
by the slaves, and the pavement sprinkled with 
the broken heads and legs of the luckless /ares. 
Aside, surveying the wreck, stood the peddler, 
clad as usual with his class. In his girdle he 
carried a mallet, significant of his trade. He 
was uncommonly tall, and of a complexion darker 
than the lowest slaves. While the commiserate 
princess observed him, he raised his eyes ; a mo- 
ment he stood uncertain what to do ; then he 
stepped to the palanquin, and from the folds of 
his tunic drew an image elaborately carved upon 
the face of an agate. 

"The good princess," he said, bending so low 
as to hide his face, "did not laugh at the mis- 
fortune of her poor slave. She has a friendly 
heart, and is loved by every artisan in Tenoch- 


titlan. This carving is of a sacred god, who will 
watch over and bless her, as I now do. If she 
will take it, I shall be glad." 

" It is very valuable, and maybe you are not 
rich," she replied. 

" Rich ! When it is told that the princess Tula 
was pleased with a teotl of my carving, I shall 
have patrons without end. And if it were not so, 
the recollection will make me rich enough. Will 
she please me so much } " 

She took from her finger a ring set with a 
jewel that, in any city of Europe, would have 
bought fifty such cameos, and handed it to him. 

" Certainly ; but take this from me. I warrant 
you are a gentle artist." 

The peddler took the gift, and kissed the pave- 
ment, and after the palanquin was gone, picked 
up such of his wares as were uninjured, and went 
his way well pleased. 

At the gate of the temple of Huitzil* the three 
alighted, and made their way to the azoteas. The 
lofty place was occupied by pabas and citizens, 
yet a sunshade of gaudy feather-work was pitched 
for them close by the eastern verge, overlooking 
the palace of Axaya*, and commanding the street 
up which the array was to come. In the area 
below, encompassed by the Coatapantliy or Wall 
of Serpents, ten thousand warriors were closely 
ranked, ready to march at beat of the great drum 
hanging in the tower. Thus, comfortably situated, 
the daughters of the king awaited the strangers. 

When Montezuma started to meet his guests. 

Tula drew the curtain quickly 



the morning was far advanced. A vast audience, 
in front of his palace, waited to catch a view of 
his person. Of his policy the mass knew but the 
little gleaned from a thousand rumors, — enough 
to fill them with forebodings of evil. Was he 
going out as king or slave ? At last he came, 
looking their ideal of a child of the Sun, and 
ready for the scrutiny. Standing in the portal, 
he received their homage ; not one but kissed the 
ground before him. 

He stepped out, and the sun, as if acknowledg- 
ing his presence, seemed to pour a double glory 
about him. In the time of despair and overthrow 
that came, alas ! too soon, those who saw him, in 
that moment of pride, spread his arms in general 
benediction, remembered his princeliness, and 
spoke of him ever after in the language of poetry. 
The tilmatli^ looped at the throat, and falling 
gracefully from his shoulders, was beaded with 
jewels and precious stones; the long, dark-green 
plumes in his panache drooped with pearls ; his 
sash was in keeping with the mantle ; the thongs 
of his sandals were edged with gold, and the 
soles were entirely of gold. Upon his breast, re- 
lieved against the rich embroidery of his tunic, 
symbols of the military orders of the realm liter- 
ally blazed with gems. 

About the royal palanquin, in front of the 
portal, bareheaded and barefooted, stood its com- 
plement of bearers, lords of the first rank, proud 
of the service. Between the carriage and the 
doorway a carpet of white cloth was stretched : 


common dust might not soil his feet. As he 
stepped out, he was saluted by a roar of atabals 
and conch-shells. The music warmed his blood ; 
the homage was agreeable to him, — was to his 
soul what incense is to the gods. He gazed 
proudly around, and it was easy to see how much 
he was in love with his own royalty. 

Taking his place in the palanquin, the cortege 
moved slowly down the street. In advance walked 
stately caciques with wands, clearing the way. The 
carriers of the canopy, which was separate from 
the carriage, followed next ; and behind them, 
reverently, and with downcast faces, marched an 
escort of armed lords indescribably splendid. 

The street traversed was the same Malinche 
was to traverse. Often and again did the subtle 
monarch look to paves and housetops, and to 
the canals and temples. Well he knew the cun- 
ning guest would sweep them all, searching for 
evidences of his power ; that nothing would escape 
examination ; that the myriads of spectators,, the 
extent of the city, its position in the lake, and 
thousands of things not to be written would find 
places in the calculation inevitable if the visit 
were with other than peaceful intent. 

At a palace near the edge of the city the escort 
halted to abide the coming. 

Soon, from the lake, a sound of music was 
heard, more plaintive than that of the conchs. 

"They are coming, they are coming! The 
ieu/es are coming ! " shouted the people ; and 
every heart, even the king's, beat quicker. Up the 
street the cry passed, like a hurly gust of wind. 

At a palace near the edge of the city the escort halted 



^T is hardly worth while to eulogize 
the Christians who took part in 
Cortes' crusade. History has as- 
sumed their commemoration. I may 
say, however, they were men who 
had acquired fitness for the task by 
service in almost every clime. Some had tilted 
with the Moor under the walls of Granada ; some 
had fought the Islamite on the blue Danube ; some 
had performed the first Atlantic voyage with Co- 
lumbus ; all of them had hunted the Carib in the 


glades of Hispaniola. It is not enough to describe 
them as fortune-hunters, credulous, imaginative, 
tireless ; neither is it enough to write them sol- 
diers, bold, skillful, confident, cruel to enemies, 
gentle to each other. They were characters of 
the age in which they lived, unseen before, unseen 
since ; knights errant, who believed in hippogrifF 
and dragon, but sought them only in lands of 
gold; missionaries, who complacently broke the 
body of the converted that Christ might the 
sooner receive his soul ; palmers of pike and 
shield, who, in care of the Virgin, followed the 
morning round the world, assured that Heaven 
stooped lowest over the most profitable planta- 

The wonders of the way from the coast to Izta- 
palapan had so beguiled the little host that they 
took but partial account of its dangers. When, 
this morning, they stepped upon the causeway, 
and began the march out into the lake, a sense of 
insecurity fell upon them, like the shadow of a 
cloud; back to the land they looked, as to a 
friend from whom they might be parting forever ; 
and as they proceeded, and the water spread 
around them, wider, deeper, and upbearing denser 
multitudes of people, the enterprise suddenly grew 
in proportions, and challenged their self-suffi- 
ciency; yet, as I have heard them confess, they 
did not wake to a perfect comprehension of their 
situation, and its dangers and difficulties, until 
they passed the gates of Xoloc : then Tenochtitlan 
shone upon them, — a city of enchantment ! And 


then each one felt that to advance was like march- 
ing in the face of death, at the same time each 
one saw there was no hope except in advance. 
Every hand grasped closer the weapon with which 
it was armed, while the ranks were intuitively 
closed. What most impressed them, they said, 
was the silence of the people ; a word, a shout, a 
curse, or a battle-cry would have been a relief 
from the fears and fancies that beset them ; as it 
was, though in the midst of myriad life, they heard 
only their own tramp, or the clang and rattle of 
their own arms. As if aware of the influence, 
and fearful of its effect upon his weaker follow- 
ers, Cortes spoke to the musicians, and trumpet 
and clarion burst into a strain which, with beat of 
drum and clash of cymbal, was heard in the city. 

" Oluy Sandoval, Alvarado ! Here, at my right 
and left ! " cried Cortes. 

They spurred forward at the call. 

"Out of the way, dog!" shouted Sandoval, 
thrusting a naked tamene over the edge of the 
dike with the butt of his lance. 

" By my conscience, Seftores," Cortes said, " I 
think true Christian in a land of unbelievers never 
beheld city like this. If it be wrong to the royal 
good knight, Richard, of England, or that valor- 
ous captain, the Flemish Duke Godfrey, may the 
saints pardon me ; but I dare say the walled towns 
they took, and, for that matter, I care not if you 
number Antioch and the Holy City of the Sepul- 
chre among them, were not to be put in compari- 
son with this infidel stronghold." 


And as they ride, listening to his comments, let 
me bring them particulariy to view. 

They were in full armor, except that Alvarado's 
squire carried his helmet for him. In preparation 
for the entry, their skillful furbishers had well 
renewed the original lustre of helm, gorget, breast- 
plate, glaive, greave, and shield. The plumes in 
their crests, like the scarfs across their breasts, 
had been carefully preserved for such ceremonies. 
At the saddle-bows hung heavy hammers, better 
known as battle-axes. Rested upon the iron shoe, 
and balanced in the right hand, each carried a 
lance, to which, as the occasion was peaceful, a 
silken pennon was attached. The horses, oppor- 
tunely rested in Iztapalapan, and glistening in 
mail, trod the causeway as if conscious of the 
terror they inspired. 

Cortes, between his favorite captains, rode with 
lifted visor, smiling and confident. His complex- 
ion was bloodless and ashy, a singularity the more 
noticeable on account of his thin, black beard. The 
lower lip was seamed with a scar. He was of fine 
stature, broad-shouldered, and thin, but strong, 
active, and enduring. His skill in all manner of 
martial exercises was extraordinary. He con- 
versed in Latin, composed poetry, wrote unex- 
ceptionable prose, and, except when in passion, 
spoke gravely and with well-turned periods.^ In 
argument he was both dogmatic and convincing, 
and especially artful in addressing soldiers, of 
whom, by constitution, mind, will, and courage, 

1 Bernal Diaz, Htst. of the Cong, of Mexico, 

" Out of the way, do^i;! " shouted Sandoval 

r \ 


he was a natural leader. Now, gay and assured, 
he managed his steed with as little concern and 
talked carelessly as a knight returning victorious 
from some joyous passage of arms. 

Gonzalo de Sandoval, not twenty-three years of 
age, was better looking, having a larger frame and 
fuller face. His beard was auburn, and curled 
agreeably to the prevalent fashion. Next to his 
knightly honor, he loved his beautiful chestnut 
horse. Mot ilia. ^ 

Handsomest man of the party, however, was 
Don Pedro de Alvarado. Generous as a brother 
to a Christian, he hated a heathen with the fervor 
of a crusader. And now, in scorn of Aztecan 
treachery, he was riding unhelmed, his locks, long 
and yellow, flowing freely over his shoulders. 
His face was fair as a gentlewoman's, and neither 
sun nor weather could alter it. Except in battle, 
his countenance expressed the friendliest disposi- 
tion. He cultivated his beard assiduously, training 
it to fall in ringlets upon his breast, — and there 
was reason for the weakness, if such it was ; 
yellow as gold, with the help of his fair face and 
clear blue eyes, it gave him a peculiar expression 
of sunniness, from which the Aztecs called him 
Tonitiahf child of the Sun.^ 

And over what a following of cavaliers the 
leader looked when, turning in his saddle, he now 
and then glanced down the column, — Christobal 
de Oli, Juan Velasquez de Leon, Francisco de 

1 Bernal Diaz, I/ist. of the Cong. 0/ Mexico. 

2 Ibid. 


Montejo, Luis Marin, Andreas de Tapia, Alonzo 
de Avila, Francisco de Lugo, the Manjarezes, 
Andreas and Gregorio, Diego de Ordas, Francisco 
de Morla, Christobal de Olea, Gonzalo de Domin- 
guez, Rodriques Magarino, Alonzo Hernandez 
Carrero, — most of them gentlemen of the class 
who knew the songs of Rodrigo, and the stories 
of Amadis and the Paladins ! 

And much shame would there be to me if I 
omitted mention of two others, — Bernal Diaz del 
Castillo, who, after the conquest, became its faith- 
ful historian, and Father Bartolom^ de Olmedo, ^ 
sweet singer, good man, and devoted servant of 
God, the first to whisper the names of Christ 
and the Holy Mother in the ear of New Spain. 
In the column behind the cavaliers, with his assist- 
ant, Juan de las Varillas, he rode bareheaded, and 
clad simply in a black serge gown. The tinkle of 
the little silver bell, which the soldiers, in token 
of love, had tied to the neck of his mule, sounded 
amid the harsher notes of war, like a gentle 
reminder of shepherds and grazing flocks in peace- 
ful pastures near Old World homes. 

After the holy men, in care of a chosen guard 
of honor, the flag of Spain was carried ; and then 
came the artillery, drawn by slaves ; next, in close 
order, followed the crossbowmen and arquebusiers, 
the latter with their matches lighted. Rearward 
still, in savage pomp and pride, strode the two 
thousand Tlascalans, first of their race to bear 
shield and fly banner along the causeway into 

1 Bemal Diaz, Hist, of the Cong, of Mexico. 


Tenochtitlan. And so the Christians, in order of 
battle, but scarcely four hundred strong, marched 
into a capital of full three hundred thousand 
inhabitants, swollen by the innumerable multi- 
tudes of the valley. 

As they drew nigh the city, the cavaliers be- 
came silent and thoughtful. With astonishment, 
which none of them sought to conceal, they gazed 
at the white walls and crowded houses, and, with 
sharpened visions, traced against the sky the out- 
lines of temples and temple-towers, more numer- 
ous than those of papal Rome. Well they knew 
that the story of what they saw so magnificently 
before them would be received with incredulity in 
all the courts of Christendom. Indeed, some of 
the humbler soldiers marched convinced that all 
they beheld was a magical delusion. Not so 

" Ride on, gentlemen, ride on ! " he said. " There 
is a question I would ask of a good man behind 
us. I will rejoin you shortly." 

From the artillerists he singled a soldier. 

" Martin Lopez ! Martin Lopez ! " 

The man came to him. 

"Martin, look out on this lake. Beareth it 
resemblance to the blue bays on the southern 
shore of old Spain ? As thou art a crafty sailor, 
comrade mine, look carefully." 

Lopez raised his morion, and, leaning on his 
pike, glanced over the expanse. 

" Seftor, the water is fair enough, and, for that, 
looks like bayous I have seen without coming so 


far; but I doubt if a two-decker could float on it 
long enough for Father Olmedo^ to say mass for 
our souls in peril." 

" Peril ! Plagfue take thee, man ! Before the 
hour of vespers, by the Blessed Lady, whose 
image thou wearest, this lake, yon city, its master, 
and all thou seest here, not excepting the common 
spawn of idolatry at our feet, shall be the property 
of our sovereign lord But, Martin Lopez, thou 
hast hauled sail and tacked ship in less room than 
this. What say'st thou to sailing a brigantine 

The sailor's spirit rose ; he looked over the lake 

" It might be done, it might be done! " 

" Then, by my conscience, it shall be ! Confess 
thyself an Admiral to-night." 

And Cortes rode to the front. Conquest might 
not be, he saw, without vessels ; and true to his 
promise, it came to pass that Lopez sailed, not 
one, but a fleet of brigantines on the gentle 

When the Christians were come to the first 
bridge outside the walls, their attention was sud- 
denly drawn from the city. Down the street 
came Montezuma and his retinue. Curious as 
they were to see the arch-infidel, the soldiers kept 
their ranks ; but Cortes, taking with him the cava- 
liers, advanced to meet the monarch. When the 
palanquin stopped, the Spaniards dismounted. 
About the same time an Indian woman, of comely 
features, came forward. 


" Stay thou here, Marina," said Cortes. " I will 
embrace the heathen, then call thee to speak to 

'^Jesu ! " cried Alvarado. "There is gold enough 
on his litter to furnish a cathedral." 

"Take thou the gold, Seflor; I choose the 
jewels on his mantle," said De Ordas. 

" By my patron saint of excellent memory ! " 
said Sandoval, lisping his words, "I think for 
noble cavaliers ye are easily content. Take the 
jewels and the gold ; but give me that train of 
stalwart dogs, and a plantation worthy of my 
degree here by Tezcuco." 

So the captains talked. 

Meantime, the cotton cloth was stretched along 
the dike. Then on land and sea a hush prevailed. 

Montezuma came forward, supported by the 
lords Cuitlahua and Cacama. Cortes met him 
half-way. When face to face, they paused, and 
looked at each other. Alas, for the Aztec then ! 
In the mailed stranger he beheld a visitant from 
the Sun, — a god ! The Spaniard saw, wrapped 
in the rich vestments, only a man, — a king, yet a 
heathen ! He opened his arms : Montezuma stirred 
not. Cuitlahua uttered a cry to Huitzil*, and 
caught one of the extended arms. Long did Cortes 
keep in mind the cacique's look at that moment ; 
long did he remember the dark brown face, 
swollen with indignation and horror. Alvarado 
laid his hand on his sword. 

" Peace, Don Pedro ! " said Cortes. " The knave 
knows nothing of respectable customs. Instead of 


taking to thy sword, bless the Virgin that a Chris- 
tian knight hath been saved the sin of embracing 
an unbeliever. Call Marina." 

The woman came, and stood by the Spaniard, 
and in a sweet voice interpreted the speeches. 
The monarch expressed delight at seeing his visi- 
tors, and welcomed them to Tenochtitlan ; his 
manner and courteous words won even Alvarado. 
Cortes answered, acknowledging surprise at the 
beauty and extent of the city, and in token of his 
gratification at being at last before a king so rich 
and powerful begged him to accept a present. 
Into the royal hand he then placed a string of 
precious stones, variously colored, and strongly- 
perfumed with musk. Thereupon the ceremony 
ended. Two of the princes were left to conduct 
the strangers to their quarters. Resuming his 
palanquin, Montezuma himself led the procession 
as far as his own palace. 

And Cortes swung himself into the saddle. 
" Let the trumpets sound. Forward ! " 

Again the music, — again the advance ; then 
the pageant passed from the causeway and lake 
into the expectant city. 

Theretofore, the Christians had been silent 
from discipline, now they were silent from wonder. 
Even Cortes held his peace. They had seen 
the irregular towns of Tlascala, and the preten- 
tious beauty of Cholula, and Iztapalapan, in whose 
streets the lake contended with the land for 
mastery, yet were they unprepared for Tenoch- 
titlan. Here, it was plain, wealth and power and 


time and labor, under the presidency of genius, 
had wrought their perfect works, everywhere visi- 
ble: under foot, a sounding bridge, or a broad 
paved way, dustless, and unworn by wheel or 
fcoof ; on the right and left, airy windows, figured 
portals, jutting balconies, embattled cornices, por- 
ticoes with columns of sculptured marble, and here 
a palace, there a temple ; overhead pyramidal 
heights crowned with towers and smoking bra- 
ziers, or lower roofs, from which, as from hanging 
gardens, floated waftures sweet as the perfumed 
airs of the Indian isles ; and everywhere, looking up 
from the canals, down from the porticoes, houses, 
and pyramids, and out of the doors and windows, 
crowding the pavement, clinging to the walls, — 
everywhere the People ! After ages of decay I 
know it has been otherwise ; but I also know 
that conquerors have generally found the builders 
of a great state able and willing to defend it. 

" St. James absolve me, Seflor ! but I like not 
the coldness of these dogs," said Monjarez to 

"Nor I," was the reply. "Seest thou the 
women on yon balcony ? I would give my hel- 
met full of ducats, if they would but once cry, 
« Vtva Espafia ! * " 

" Nay, that would I if they would but wave a 

The progress of the pageant was necessarily 
slow ; but at last the spectators on the temple of 
Huitzil' heard its music ; at last the daughters of 
the king beheld it in the street below them. 


" Gods of my fathers ! " thought Tula, awed 
and trembling, "what manner of beings are 

And the crossbowmen and arquebusiers, their 
weapons and glittering iron caps, the guns, and 
slaves that dragged them, even the flag of Spain, 
— objects of mighty interest to others, — drew 
from Nenetzin but a passing glance Very beau- 
tiful to her, however, were the cavaliers, insomuch 
that she cared only for their gay pennons, their 
shields, their plumes nodding bravely above their 
helms, their armor of strange metal, on which the 
sun seemed to play with a fiery love, and their 
steeds, creatures tamed for the service of gods. 
Suddenly her eyes fixed, her heart stopped ; point- 
ing to where the good Captain Alvarado rode, 
scanning with upturned face the great pile, " Oh, 
Tula, Tula ! " she cried. " See ! There goes the 
blue-eyed warrior of my dream ! " 

But it happened that Tula was, at the moment, 
too much occupied to listen or look. The hand- 
some vendor of images, standing near the royal 
party, had attracted the attention of Yeteve, the 

"The noble Tula is unhappy. She is thinking 
of" — 

A glance checked the name. 

Then Yeteve whispered, " Look at the image- 

The prompting was not to be resisted. She 
looked, and recognized Guatamozin. Not that 
only ; through his low disguise, in his attitude, 


his eyes bright with angry fire, she discerned 
his spirit, its pride and heroism. Not for her 
was it to dispute the justice of his banishment. 
Love scorned the argument. There he stood, 
the man for the time ; strong-armed, stronger- 
hearted, prince by birth, king by nature, watch- 
ing afar off a scene in which valor and genius 
entitled him to prominence. Then there were 
tears for him, and a love higher, if not purer, 
than ever. 

Suddenly he leaned over the verge, and 
shouted, "Al-a-lala! Al-a-lala!" and with such 
energy that he was heard in the street below. 
Tula looked down, and saw the cause of the ex- 
citement, — the Tlascalans were marching by! 
Again his cry, the same with which he had so 
often led his countrymen to battle. No one took 
it up. The companies inside the sacred wall 
turned their faces, and stared at him in dull won- 
der. And he covered his eyes with his hands, 
while every thought was a fierce invective. Little 
he then knew how soon, and how splendidly, they 
were to purchase his forgiveness ! 

When the Tlascalans were gone, he dropped 
his hands, and found the — mallet ! So it was 
the artisan, the image-maker, not the 'tzin, who 
had failed to wake the army to war ! He turned 
quickly, and took his way through the crowd, and 
disappeared ; and none but Tula and Yeteve ever 
knew that, from the teocalliSy Guatamozin had 
witnessed the entry of the teules. 

And so poor Nenetzin had been left to follow 


the warrior of her dream ; the shock and the 
pleasure were hers alone. 

The palace of Axaya' faced the temple of Hui- 
tzil' on the west. In one of the halls Montezuma 
received Cortes and the cavaliers ; and all their 
lives they recollected his gentleness, courtesy, 
and unaffected royalty in that ceremony. Put- 
ting a golden collar around the neck of his chief 
guest, he said, " This palace belongs to you, Ma- 
linche, and to your brethren. Rest after your 
fatigues ; you have much need to do so. In a 
little while I will come again." 

And when he was gone, straightway the guest 
so honored proceeded to change the palace into 
a fort. Along the massive walls that encircled it 
he stationed sentinels ; at every gate planted can- 
non ; and, like the enemy he was, he began, and 
from that time enforced, a discipline sterner than 

The rest of the day the citizens, from the top 
of the temple, kept incessant watch upon the 
palace. When the shades of evening were col- 
lecting over the city, and the thousands, grouped 
along the streets, were whispering of the inci- 
dents they had seen, a thunderous report broke 
the solemn stillness ; and they looked at each 
other, and trembled, and called the evening guns 
of Cortes " Voices of the Gods." 

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